ASSEMBLY LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT LEGISLATIVE PANEL
"Transportation issues concerning potential redevelopment of the Sports Complex"
April 14, 2003
MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE PRESENT:
Assemblyman Joseph V. Doria Jr., Chairman
Assemblyman Paul A. Sarlo
Assemblyman Gordon M. Johnson
Assemblywoman Rose Marie Heck
Assemblyman John E. Rooney
Mark J. Trease
|John R.McCarvill||Jerry Traino|
|Office of Legislative Services||Assembly Majority||Assembly Republican|
|Panel Aide||Panel Aide||Panel Aide|
Meeting Recorded and
The Office of Legislative Services, Public Information Office,
Hearing Unit, State House Annex, PO 068, Trenton, New Jersey
ASSEMBLYMAN JOSEPH V. DORIA JR. (Chairman): Could
we, everyone, please come together, take a seat. Now, thereís no flag, but at
these difficult times, Iíd still -- which is not customary before a session -- I still
think we should stand and pledge to the flag.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: We all have the lapels.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Okay. Very good.
(participants recite Pledge of Allegiance)
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you. Thank you very much.
What Iíd like to do is begin with a statement and ask the members
of the Committee if they have any comments. Unfortunately, Assemblyman
Jack Conners could not make it today, but Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, who
represents the 37th District here in Bergen County, will be here. Heís on his
way, and we expect him shortly.
But I want to begin by thanking everyone for coming today, and
hopefully, this will be the first of a number of different opportunities for
discussion and hearings on the concept of mass transit to the Meadowlands and,
obviously, the continuation of a need to provide mass transit here into Bergen
The issue of transportation options for the future is very important
for the development of the Meadowlands. We all understand that. This is
something that we need to continue to review and work on, as the economic
development takes place here in this area and areas that are surrounded by the
I want to begin by thanking, first, George Zoffinger; and the
Chairman of the Sports and Exposition Authority, Carl Goldberg, for allowing
us to have the hearing here and for his hospitality today, and for all of the
accommodations that have been made. So we want to thank Executive Director
Zoffinger for all of his help and support. I want to, also, thank Assemblyman
Sarlo for his suggestion that we hold this hearing. I think that itís an
appropriate concept, and one that is very important and something that we need
to continue to move upon and work upon in the future. So I want to thank
No matter what is eventually built on this site, or whether this site
remains as it presently is, the need for improved transportation in this area is
essential. We know, presently, the problems that exist, the traffic jams that exist
when there are various events, whether at the stadium or the arena. We know
the traffic on the Turnpike. We know the traffic that exists on Route 120. We
have to address the situation. The situation is not getting better. The issue of
traffic throughout the State of New Jersey is getting, as the years go on, worse.
We need to understand that, and we need to deal with the concept of mass
The reality is that we canít continue to build lane upon lane of
highway. We need to come up with a system that will move people from Point
A to PointB in the most expeditious and convenient manner, and the least
costly manner. And so, we need to look at something beyond the traditional
highways of the past, as we move into the 21st century.
We have had a great deal of success with the Hudson-Bergen Light
Rail. Unfortunately, as my colleagues in Bergen County point out, itís still only
Hudson, but itís getting to Bergen.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Itís moving. Itís moving.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: We need to make sure that it gets to
Bergen. It will get there, yes. Weíll get there. Weíre moving. MLS-2 is moving
towards completion and we will be in North Bergen, right on the Bergen County
line, at the end of MLS-2. And working with our Congressman -- Congressman
Rothman is here and weíre going to ask him to testify -- we, hopefully, will get
the funding for MLS-3 with the refunding of the ISTEA legislation this summer.
But itís been a success. Light rail has been a success. Itís proven to be a
success, and we need to continue to make sure that it will be a success for the
We have to move people out of their cars. We need to create a
transportation system that takes people where they need to go in the most
expeditious and least costly manner. Light rail has generated economic
development. If you look at the Jersey City waterfront, you look at Goldman
Saks Building, you look at all the new homes, when we take the ride along there
-- weíve done it with Rose, with Paul, with John -- weíre all very proud of what
has been accomplished in the past. Weíre proud of the fact that the Light Rail
Panel, first, under the leadership of Assemblywoman Rose Heck, and now,
under my leadership, has been a part of that process. I have the privilege of
serving on the Light Rail Panel, as has Rose, since its inception.
We need to begin to look at how we can continue to guarantee
economic development into the Meadowlands area with the proposed projects
that have been recommended and with those that will be coming on line, such
as the Secaucus Transfer. We need to start determining how we can move
people, not only for recreational purposes, but for the creation and availability
of jobs. We have a large catchment area in Hudson County and eastern Bergen
County, which can then come here to work. So not only will we have economic
development, weíll have jobs. But we need to move the people to the jobs in
the least difficult manner and the most expeditious way.
That is whatís important here. Thatís the reason why we need to
understand that what happens in the Meadowlands will impact upon Passaic,
Essex, Bergen, Hudson County, and all of North Jersey in the end. Thatís key.
Light rail will not only help to provide the access to the sports venues, but also
to the business venues, the commercial venues, the retail venues that will be
created here in this area and already exist in places like Harmon Meadows.
That is what weíre here, today, to do.
We have a commitment to the concept of light rail and mass transit.
We have a commitment to this area. We have a commitment to this area of
northern New Jersey, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Essex County. So weíre here
today to get input from the public as a first step towards the process. And that
process will be, hopefully, to develop a mass transit system for this part of the
So I want to thank you all for coming.
Iíd like to ask the members of the panel for comments.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to host this panel here this
afternoon. I also want to thank George Zoffinger for, also, being so gracious to
allow us to host this here.
I represent the Meadowlands district, and Iím proud to represent
the Meadowlands district. The very important people who are sitting here
before us are the stakeholders of whatís going to happen and what has happened
in the Meadowlands. But you know, weíve talked for many years, and we have
one of the greatest sports complexes in the world here. And always, the one
knock weíve always had is, we were always missing the mass transit component.
Letís not focus on what we should have done or what we could
have done. Letís focus in on going forward. We have a great opportunity before
us, with the redevelopment of the arena site, and some of the redevelopment of
the Paterson Plank Road Corridor, and some of the other economic
development that, hopefully, will go on around it to help stimulate this
economy. Let us all come together.
In this first session, I hope to be a brain-storming session for the
stakeholders here today. Letís hear your ideas. Letís hear potential logistics of
getting rail in here, whether itís light rail or whether itís heavy rail. Letís hear
about potential funding sources. We all know thatís going to be the most
critical issue -- is where the dollars are going to come from. But we need to
start, and we need to start immediately.
And as the Chairman said, I hope to have these sessions continue.
Maybe two months from now we can come back with Transit taking a lot of the
testimony that they have received here today and putting some pen to paper and
seeing some concepts become a reality. We cannot allow another moment to
go by. We need to seize the opportunity.
Our Chairman of the Sports and Exposition Authority and George
Zoffinger, both Carl Goldberg and George Zoffinger, have done a tremendous
job in bringing that process to where it is today, and theyíre working on a
developerís agreement. But letís create a mass transit component to the
Meadowlands, not in a vacuum, letís create it in such a manner that itís going
to benefit the entire region and stimulate economic opportunities here in South
I look forward to hearing a lot of good ideas today. Weíre going
to, as a panel, hopefully continue to serve as a conduit to help facilitate this
process, to keep everybody moving forward and keep all the stakeholders
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Assemblyman
Assemblyman Johnson has joined us, and we welcome him.
Iíd like to now ask -- Assemblywoman Heck, would you like to
make some comments?
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: The meetings in Bergen have taken
place over the years. We are not in a vacuum. We came into Bergen County
Administration Building with County Executive Pat Schuber, and maybe there
were a half dozen people who chose to come to those meetings. It seems that
more attention is being paid to us as the Hudson-Bergen Line moves closer to
Bergen. But remember that Bergen was always a part of this plan. I want to
recognize the fact that this is, again, part of Tom Keanís circle of mobility. And
Joe, and Alex DeCroce, and I worked with our former Congressman, Bob Rowe,
to put things together, and trying to get all that money together. And, of course,
Steve, you have been an integral part of our transportation, and I want to thank
you for all that youíve done. And Iím putting more of a responsibility on you,
because of your new position. We need more money, Steve. (laughter) Much
Again, weíve had the plans, and weíve had them since day one,
beginning with Commissioner Frank Wilson. He had the plan for HBLRT to
come into the Meadowlands. But letís remember costs are involved, and
environmental issues are involved, and we have to take them all into account
as we move ahead. And we, also, must take into consideration the heavy rail
systems that we have, and how quickly we can move that mass transportation
into the Meadowlands.
I will say, again, what I have said for years and at the beginning of
the RFPs, etc.: To me, no development should begin in the Meadowlands --
new development -- until we have mass transportation piece in place, and no
ground breaking should take place until we either have mass transportation
simultaneously or prior to any new development.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblyman Johnson, would you like
to make any comments?
ASSEMBLYMAN JOHNSON: Iíll just make a brief comment. I
donít want to be redundant. We are here today. We know the importance of
this project, and I believe we all know the importance of a mass transit system
connecting this project to the rest of Bergen County and the metropolitan area.
I just want to say that we have to ensure that this light rail, whether it be a light
rail or heavy rail, this rail spur must be an intricate part of this project. We need
the funding to ensure that happens. Itís forward thinking. Itís smart thinking.
Iíd like to thank George Zoffinger, and Mr. Goldberg, and
Congressman Rothman, and everyone here, actually, because your input is
vitally important to help us determine how weíre going to do this and make it
a complete package thatís good for everyone.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblyman Rooney.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I
Iím here for very selfish reasons. I think, in 1977, I served on a first
committee -- and I think Al Cafiero was there -- Northern Valley Transit
Coordination Committee, and opened my eyes to, basically, passenger transit,
which had left us in the Northern valley. I live up in the Northern valley, in
Northvale. Thereís two ways of getting mass transit back again. One would
have been the West Shore Line, which we had as passenger service. And to
Congressman Roweís credit -- I want to thank you. You had the foresight, back
when they discontinued the service, to maintain the right-of-way for passenger
service on the West Shore Line. Unfortunately, your colleagues in New York
didnít have your foresight. They didnít maintain that right-of-way. We have
no right-of-way for passenger service.
We see the example of CSX. I say this for the benefit of Dennis
McNerny, our County Executive. We see the example of Florida with CSX.
Florida tried to reinstate passenger service. CSX has fought them all the way,
and for all intents and purposes, theyíll never get their passenger service back.
Thatís what will happen if the West Shore Line is continued. We will never get
passenger service back, because it makes no sense if we donít have the
component in New York.
The reason Iím here is, I want to see passenger service brought back
to the Northern valley, and the only way to do it is a light rail extension of --
from Tenafly up to the Northern valley on the Northern Line. This would hook
up with the Hudson, almost Bergen, Line that weíre talking about today. Iíve
heard some rumors that certain people are not in favor of continuing a Northern
Line or even going to Tenafly on the Northern Line. Now thatís absolutely
wrong. I will fight that tooth and nail to make sure that component gets in.
And the other thing Iíd suggest to our Congressman, is that if we
look at that Northern Line, and continuing, not to Northvale, but into New
York state -- up to the Route 303 drive-in, at least, because thereís a lot of
acreage up there -- we would have a bistate component that would make it a lot
easier for funding. I know Joe has heard this before--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I was just going to say, John--
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: This is the first time that Iíve used
this in Bergen County.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: The problem is weíre here to talk about
the Meadowlands, not the Northern--
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: I know. I know we are.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I mean, so--
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Weíre here to talk about light rail,
I thought, and--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Well, but, specifically, for the -- at this
time, for the Meadowlands. I mean, your concept, obviously, is something that
we should discuss, but I think thereís an appropriate time to do that. But at this
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: We should have a hearing just for
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: We should have a hearing just on that
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: And I do suggest, for the players who
are here today, to take a look at that, think about it, because we really need to
talk about it. The one thing is that, as far as weíre looking at -- the West Shore
Line is a waste of money. And this is my point right now: If we look at the EIS
for the West Shore Line, we may do all of that money. It will detract from other
projects, such as bringing the line here into the Meadowlands. So what Iím
saying to you is that, letís kill the West Shore Line right now, or in the very near
future. Letís put our eggs in the basket of the Meadowlands, the Northern Line,
and work together. Because if weíre going in 10 different directions, especially
in Bergen County, Bergen County has to come together and decide what they
want to do. You canít look at every project and give them equal consideration
Thatís my point today, and Iíll end with that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: We appreciate the comments of
Assemblyman Rooney, but I just want to re-emphasize: Today, the purpose of
the hearing is, specifically, to discuss the public transit options for the
Meadowlands, specifically whether or not the light rail would be appropriate,
and other options that could exist for the development of the future and the
Iíd like to, now, ask Congressman Rothman -- we appreciate your
patience, and we thank you for being here. As Assemblywoman Heck so well
pointed out, you will be playing a major role in the refunding of ISTEA and all
the funding for the State of New Jersey in your new committee assignment. We
wish you well in that, and we thank you for being here. And I turn it over to
you, Congressman Rothman.
U. S. R E P R E S E N T A T I V E S T E V E N R O T H M A N: Thank
you, Mr. Chairman.
Before I begin, I think it is appropriate, since our troops are in the
field in harmís way -- weíve already lost some soldiers -- if we would stand and
have one moment of silence for our fallen troops and for our troops in the field
fighting to preserve our freedom.
(moment of silence)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, let me thank you. In particular, let me thank Assemblyman
Paul Sarlo for inviting me, on behalf of the Committee. This is Assemblyman
Sarloís legislative district, and he and I have had many conversations, as have
a number of people at the table. But Assemblyman Sarlo, in particular, asked
if we couldnít put together this forum to examine the various alternatives that
would be available to bring rail into the Meadowlands. And I want to thank
Assemblyman Sarlo for being so instrumental in calling this meeting together.
Of course, I want to thank Assemblyman Rooney, Mayor Rooney,
my friend from a long time, who has devoted many years of public service to the
people of this county and to his town -- thank you -- and for this issue. This is
my friend, Assemblywoman Rose Heck, of course, whoís been a leader in this
area of transportation and others, as well, and served our people very well. And,
of course, my friend, Gordon Johnson, who I have known for a great many years
in various capacities and is now doing such an outstanding job representing the
And of course, you, Mr. Chairman, you are one of our mentors in
public service in all the good works you have done, not only for your
community, but throughout the State. And itís a privilege to appear before you,
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
REPRESENTATIVE ROTHMAN: I also want to acknowledge the
presence of George Zoffinger, who is, along with Carl Goldberg-- They have
done an outstanding job in putting forth and executing a process of integrity and
thoughtfulness in choosing a plan that they believe will work for this region. I
also want to thank him for his hospitality in having us here. Then, of course,
our Bergen County Executive, Dennis McNerny, who is here. Dennis has a
tremendous amount of ability, and intelligence, and passion for the people of
Bergen County and this region. Iím delighted to see him here. I believe my
friend Mayor Fred Dressel is here, representing the Meadowlands. Mayors,
Freddie and I go way back, when I used to be young and I was a young mayor.
Then, of course, the Executive Director of the Meadowlands Commission, Bob
Ceberio, who has been absolutely extraordinary in his leadership and in his
professional talents in reshaping the vision of the Meadowlands to comport with
the changing times, the changing public attitudes that are now a matter of
consensus, I believe, in Northern New Jersey -- which, perhaps, were symbolized
in the name change from the New Jersey Development Commission,
Meadowlands Development Commission to the Hackensack Meadowlands
Of course, I think George Warrington is, also, here. I was advised
that heís here, and welcome to George, whose leadership in New Jersey Transit
is vitally important. By the way, I just spoke to your colleague, George, David
Gunn, at an Amtrak hearing down in Washington, and you got out at the right
And finally, just to acknowledge one of my mentors and, really, one
of the true founders of the whole transportation movement in New Jersey and,
in fact, in the modern era, former Congressman Bob Rowe, the former chairman
of the House Transportation Committee. He still remains an incredible resource
of information and wisdom and leadership. And he is so -- continues to be
highly regarded throughout not only the State of New Jersey, but the hill in
Washington, for his leadership.
When I first had the opportunity to speak with George Zoffinger
and Carl Goldberg, and others in leadership, with regards to the Meadowlands
project, I reminded them of the adage of physicians: First, do no harm. First,
make sure that the development project, or rather the redevelopment project at
the arena site, does not make the transportation situation worse, does not
negatively impact in any way the quality of life of the people of Northern New
Jersey. Thatís at the very least. Do no harm.
Of course, the next step is to use all of the wonderful options and
opportunities that are available to enhance the quality of life of the people of
Northern New Jersey, not just in terms of the environment, but job
opportunities, and rateables, and entertainment, and recreation, and business
opportunities as well. But first, do no harm.
I think, to some degree, thatís what weíre talking about here with
regards to mass transit. Trying to make sure that as well-designed and as
thoughtful a project and a redevelopment agreement as we hope will come out
of this, of the process for the arena, whether the Nets and Devils stay -- and I
certainly hope the Nets and Devils stay in Bergen County. That we can help the
cause by trying to brainstorm and choose among the various options that have
appeared before us today, and will appear before us in the near future, with
regard to bringing mass transit to the Meadowlands in order to do a couple of
things. Obviously, to reduce the impact on the local roads and, also, to give the
opportunity to share in the jobs and business and recreational aspects of the
project that will be available to people outside of our region.
There are, I must say -- I think we should have further discussion
on rail in Bergen. That is not the subject of this hearing today. I think it is
known by many that when I first got to Congress, with former Chairman Roweís
help, I got included, in my first year in Congress, authorization so that a rail
component in Bergen County would be considered as part of the urban core,
which saved us many steps. It did not choose amongst the three projects. It
simply allowed for all three to be included as part of the urban core, so that later
on, if and when the people of the region and the leaders of the region chose one
of those options, we will have saved many, many steps. And since then, Iíve
actually gotten several millions of dollars for design and other aspects to the rail
components in Bergen County, again, which could accommodate one or more
of the three lines without choosing, at the moment, which line would be the
Of course, now thereís a new element to be considered. We have
a new challenge. If the old challenges were how to bring light rail or rail into
Bergen County up from the Hudson Light Rail, now we have the challenge of
handling the mass transit needs of the new Continental Arena redevelopment
properly. And weíll have to determine whether there are sufficient funds to do
all of these things at the same time -- extend the light rail in one direction, or
not, into Bergen, and/or bring rail, light or heavy, or light and heavy, into the
Meadowlands. Will we be able to do all of that, given the present and
near-term projected fiscal situation that New Jersey faces and that our Federal
government faces? And if not, if realistically, as people passionate about the
well-being of Northern New Jersey, and doing the right thing by the environment
and the quality of life of our people, if we realize that we canít do it all at once
or in the near term, meaning the next five or 10 years, then weíre going to have
to make some hard choices.
Weíre going to have to prioritize and say, if we can put together
from a variety of sources -- whether they be the Federal government, the State
Government, New Jersey Transit, New Jersey DOT, the Port Authority of New
York and New Jersey, developers, redevelopers, maybe even the Olympic
Committee -- if we can only put together a certain sum of money, but that sum
of money wonít cover all the projects weíve been dreaming of, then weíre going
to have to choose which project or projects we do first.
Having said that, weíre here to talk about one of the challenges and
one of the passions that we have. That is the desire to bring mass transit into
the Meadowlands. I have had many, many discussions with many, many
experts and lay people, and Iím looking forward to having many more. But at
the moment, there appear to be two options that are worth considering for
bringing mass transit into the Meadowlands. One of them is to bring a
commuter-rail hub and spur into the Meadowlands. That would allow people
to travel south along the Pascack Valley Line, the Main Line, and the Bergen
Line directly to the Meadowlands; or to stop at a hub and switch -- an
intermodal site -- to a shuttle train that they would take, then, into the
Continental Arena/Meadowlands Complex.
A new technology, the Colorado Railcar, also known as a Diesel
Multiple Unit, offers some promise for acting as that shuttle or being the sole
train -- S-O-L-E (laughter) -- on which passengers would travel -- maybe it works
both ways, probably (laughter) -- would travel, because it is self-propelled and
can operate on existing commuter and freight rail tracks.
Thereís another option, and that is extending the Hudson-Bergen
Light Rail System into the Meadowlands Complex itself. Its technology --
forgive the pun -- has a great track record of success here in New Jersey. And
with a certain amount of expense, it certainly could be brought into the
Meadowlands. In addition, the light rail could also be brought around the
Meadowlands Complex to the intermodal site on the far side of the complex, the
western side of the complex, where it could attach -- where it could be then
reached by the Bergen Line and the Main Line.
So, under that second option, we could have all the people who
would enjoy the complex, either as employees at the complex or as participants
in the recreation and business activities, taking the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
directly into the Meadowlands to work or enjoy the project. And then we could
also have a good part of Passaic and Bergen County people, by accessing the
Bergen and the Pascack Valley Line, come down to the intermodal site on the
west side of the Meadowlands project and take a little light rail shuttle trip into
the complex also. Those seem to be two of the best options that Iím presently
The cost: The first would cost probably $100 to $200 million, first
option. The second option could cost up to between $400 and $500 million.
In choosing the right option for rail into the Meadowlands, we have to think
about where the money would come from. And if, at the end of the day, after
all of our examinations of the various sources of money -- Federal, State, local,
county, etc., Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- there is only going
to be a certain sum of money, considerable as it will be, available for rail in
Northern New Jersey for the next 10 or 15 years, do we spend it all on this
project in the Meadowlands, or do we spend it all on the project outside of the
Meadowlands? Can we do both? Can we afford -- will there be the resources
to do both? Those are the unknowns.
In the end, my guess is that weíre not going to have the money to
fulfill every one of our dreams about having rail available for all the areas that
need and deserve rail in Northern New Jersey. So weíll have some hard
decisions that lie ahead. But I pledge to you, as I know you know -- I hope you
know -- that as the Congressman for this area, as a person born and raised in
Bergen County, who is passionate about the quality of life for the people of this
region -- as I know the people on this panel are as well -- as a person who wants
to make sure that the redeveloped arena site is done properly, so that when it
overlooks the 8,400-acre environmental park -- that Bob Ceberio, the
Meadowlands Commission, Commissioner Bass Levin, and a few of the rest of
us are, with your help, putting together -- that they can enjoy the view of our
environmental park without being tied up in too much traffic.
I do have the privilege of now being on the House Appropriation
Subcommittee on Transportation. And as I did before I got on this Committee,
Iíve gotten lots of money for Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and our rail projects,
and our road projects and the rest, to improve the quality of life here. This is
a blessing for our region to be able to be on this new Subcommittee and, believe
me, I will make the most of it for the people of this region.
I remain available, as always, and am accessible to the Committee
and to the individual members of the Committee to discuss any and all aspects
of this. I, again, thank Assemblyman Sarlo for asking Assemblyman Doria to
put this hearing together. I think that this is critically important.
I want to thank my distinguished, dear friend, Chairman Doria,
who I have such a tremendous regard for, and all of my dear friends on this
panel for having me and allowing me to participate.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Congressman.
I want to thank you, again, for taking time out of your schedule to be here, and
for all that youíve been able to accomplish in the past, and the help that youíve
given in making the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail a reality. So we thank you for
your commitment and for your knowledge.
Anyone have any questions?
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Yes, definitely.
I think you can hear me from here.
Basically, I had asked the question, when the Meadowlands
projects became a topic here, upstairs at the Ninth Floor, and Iíd asked
questions about the Meadowlands Arena. And you said many, many times, the
Meadowlands or the Continental Arena, thereís no guarantee that there will be
an arena here, according to that project that was selected. I asked George
Zoffinger, plain as day, I said, "What happens to the Continental Arena if the
Newark Arena is built?" And he told me flat out, he said, "If the Newark Arena
is built, basically you canít have competitors within 12 miles of each other." He
pointed out the window, and said, "Theyíre going to be right down the road."
I said, "Well, you schedule the events for the arena, so would you schedule
them here?" I donít have any problem with the Nets or the Devils leaving, and
I said that at the time.
The Continental Arena has been a main focus of this area for many,
many years. Iíve talked to people in my district. They love coming to the
Continental Arena for the concerts, for the ice show, for the circus, etc. I donít
think theyíre going to go to Newark.
Now, having said that, what Iím saying is -- again, Iím selfish. If
thereís no arena here, if there are no events here, and this is just a commercial
development, I donít see spending dollars, whether they be Federal dollars, State
dollars, in a project thatís a commercial development. If we have a sports
complex here, if we have concerts here that are public events that people will
come to, I have no problem putting those dollars in.
So, Congressman Rothman, Iím telling you that youíre going to get
one hell of you-know-what from me if we start spending money for a
commercial development to bring people into this complex. I donít want to see
that, and especially if youíre telling me also, not in so many words, that my
project, that my people in the Northern valley are going to suffer and not get any
mass transit as a result of transferring these dollars to this commercial venture.
I will work with you to every extent I possibly can if this is a public-- If we have
the arena, if we have the sports teams, no problem whatsoever. And weíll talk
on the Northern Valley Line. But Iím just asking for your comments on that.
REPRESENTATIVE ROTHMAN: Well, Iím sorry if you
misunderstood what I said. I have the privilege of being a United States
Congressman. I am not the governor of the State of New Jersey, nor am I the
head of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority or the chairman, nor
am I a member of the State Legislature, as you are. My understanding is that
a great many of these decisions will be made by you, as a member of the State
Legislature, the governor, and the various statewide parties, and that my role is
-- includes bringing money to the table for the choices that the people of the
region and the leaders of the region have settled upon.
I will tell you this, because itís in my nature: I will weigh in with my
own views as to what I believe are the right choices in the best interests of the
people of this region. It is the region I represent, the 650,000 people of the 9th
Congressional District elected me to guard their interests as best I can. But in
the end, this will be a decision for a variety of people to make, and institutions
-- the governor, the State Legislature, the Sports and Exposition Authority folks,
and to some degree, the funding provided by the Congress. But you will know
my interests, as well.
I think as a general rule, as a general matter, if we have to choose
where to spend our precious Federal dollars, we want to spend it on people. We
donít want to necessarily spend all of our capital providing for business if, on
the other hand, weíre denying a project or projects that could enhance the
quality of life of working people, or whoever the people are in our region. But
as I say, we donít know, yet, all the facts. We donít know yet what this
development will look like, whether there will be a performing arts component
to the redevelopment of the arena site.
I certainly agree with you that there should be a performing arts
center forum as part of the redevelopment project, and I have made that known
to various people, the governor, and my friends George and Carl. But in the
end, thatís just my opinion, and there are others who will provide their opinion.
I hope the Devils and Nets donít leave. Again, I have kids. We
love to go to the arena for the ice shows and the concerts and the ball games and
the hockey games, and itís wonderful to have that there. If the performing arts
component is smaller or different, we still may all come to the conclusion thereís
enough, even though itís different, enough to have us invest our money,
taxpayers money, there. Perhaps thereís a baseball stadium there that provides
another recreational aspect that didnít exist there, and weíll have to find out.
But I do agree with your general thesis, that it shouldnít all be spent
to allow for the profit-making of business, although thatís a very important
thing. Not only does it provide jobs for our people, they pay rateables and
make the quality of life, in large part, possible for the people of the State. But
I think we have a lot more facts to gather before we come to conclusions about
which project is the best to invest our money in, or whether we can afford to
only do one, or, perhaps, maybe we can do more than one at the same time.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblywoman Heck.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: You spoke of quality of life before,
and I hope you agree with me, that whether or not there is development here at
the Meadowlands, there is definitely a need for mass transportation in the
REPRESENTATIVE ROTHMAN: I surely do, and thatís why Iím
here. That is why I -- several days after the New Jersey Sports and Exposition
Authority announced their selection of the Xanadu Project, several days after the
announcement, I asked to meet with George Zoffinger and Carl Goldberg and
George Warrington and others, and the Bergen County planners, Bergen County
Executive, to make sure that they provided me with their first glimpse at what
they believed should be included in terms of mass transit into the Meadowlands.
The reason why I did it right away was because the deadline for the new T-21,
the new five-year Federal authorization, was, literally, coming due in a handful
of additional days.
As soon as they made the decision, I called a meeting together, and
I have included within my request, that has now been submitted for several
months as part of the five-year Federal authorization request for transportation
moneys, money in a generic sense for rail into the Meadowlands. Because I
agree with you, Assemblywoman Heck, that for the quality of life of the people
of the region, we need mass transit in Bergen County, including in the
Meadowlands. The challenge for elected officials will be, if we donít have all
the money we need to meet all of the needs at the same time, which ones or one
do we do first and to what extent. And that will be our challenges, as elected
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And you know Iíll be meeting with
you to project my thoughts in that area--
REPRESENTATIVE ROTHMAN: I know you surely will.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: --not only in the Meadowlands, but
REPRESENTATIVE ROTHMAN: Looking forward to it, Rose.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Congressman
REPRESENTATIVE ROTHMAN: Thank you, Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Next, Iíd like to call up the Executive
Director of the Sports and Exposition Authority, George Zoffinger; and the
Executive Director of New Jersey Transit, George Warrington.
I want to, again, thank George Zoffinger for his hospitality--
G E O R G E R. Z O F F I N G E R: Youíre welcome.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: --and for allowing us to hold the
hearing here, and for the great job that he and Carl Goldberg are doing with the
Sports and Exposition Authority. And to thank Executive Director Warrington,
also, for the job that is being done with the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, at the
present time, and the successes that weíve had there -- I know a very positive
impact upon the community of Bayonne and Jersey City, and now Hoboken.
The project has been one thatís moved quickly and expeditiously, and all of us
are very happy with-- So Iíd like to turn it over to the both of them for their
statements and any comments.
MR. ZOFFINGER: Iím going to give my esteemed colleague some
water here, and tell you that we are very excited to be here, jointly, together
today. And thank you, Mr. Chairman, and also, all of the members of the
Committee for hearing us. If you read the papers over the weekend, you realize
that I now know Mike Tyson, so donít disagree with me. (laughter)
We are very excited to speak a little bit about our views with regard
to the alternatives on mass transit. But Iíd just like to begin by saying that,
since 1971, the sports complex has really flourished into one of the largest
economic engines in -- certainly in the northern part of the state, but certainly
in the whole State of New Jersey. We have, probably, six million visitors that
come here each year to see everything from two pro-football teams, the ice
hockey, the NBA basketball, the MetroStars in soccer, and the concerts and
family shows that have been mentioned here before. And that economic engine
was really developed with a great deal of vision.
But the one place that we probably missed the boat, frankly, is that
we didnít bring mass transit to this side at that time. Because today, as weíve
heard from even the Congressmanís comments, and certainly other comments
that have been made in the past, we have a situation where it will be much more
costly and is much more difficult to accomplish than had we done it at that
The latest addition to the Meadowlands site is the proposed
Xanadu development. That is a $1.2 billion project that will create,
approximately, 19,000 permanent jobs and 21,000 construction jobs over the
next six years. Thatís a tremendous amount of development. It will produce,
probably, north of $860 million in revenue to the State of New Jersey.
Weíre very proud of the fact that we went through a process that
involved not only a great deal of integrity, but also a great deal of public input
with regard to that project, and in particular, input from the people that are the
legislators and mayors and council people in the Bergen County area.
This is also a challenge for us because, at the end of the day, none
of us will be pleased if the Xanadu development and the other additions that
weíll be making at the Sports Authority -- or the changes that we make at the
Sports Authority result in us having more problems with regard to the
transportation area, or any other area, in terms of the quality-of-life issues that
were mentioned by the Committee members. And we wholeheartedly support
and will be involved with making sure that that does not happen, and that this
development is something that, when we look back on it 25 years from now,
weíll say that those people really did their homework and did a good job in
terms of assessing this, and weíre very proud to have it as a development.
Throughout the proposal process, one of the main areas that we
acknowledged -- and I will reiterate it, today, to the Committee -- one of the
main areas that we acknowledged was the need to deal with the transportation
to and from this site. With six million visitors that we have today, plus the
projected visitors that could come from the Xanadu development, we need to
do something, in terms of a united front among all of the people in the northern
part of the state, to make sure that this transportation need is addressed.
As the Committee knows, we have done a good deal of background
work to try to make sure that, in the case of the developer, that a significant
amount of money was made available by the private developer toward the
transportation needs. And part of the proposal of the Xanadu proposal is for
$65 million to come from the developer for transportation needs and
infrastructure needs. We think that is a very important part of the
decision-making process from our standpoint and, also, one that is important
to this committee and to the region.
Iíd like to just say that, from the standpoint of the Sports
Authority, I want this Committee to know that we are not sitting by and, as we
negotiate the developerís agreement, weíre not sitting by and doing nothing with
regard to this transportation issue. As we rightfully should do, we are involved
and engaged on a daily -- almost certainly weekly, but almost daily basis with
some aspect of the transportation plans that come into this area. Weíve had
tremendous cooperation from New Jersey Transit -- and youíll hear from George
in a second; from the Bergen County Executiveís Office and his Planning
Department; from the Congressman -- he mentioned the meeting that we had
with regard to transportation just a couple of days after the announcement on
February 12; from the New Jersey Turnpike Board and its Chairman, Joe
Simunovich, who has been very much involved in discussions with us; with the
Meadowlands Commission and Bob Ceberio -- weíve heard -- and his staff who
have been working with us; and from a number of outside parties that have an
interest in rail into the Meadowlands and have an interest in this development.
We have also retained the services of Edwards and Kelsey -- in
consultation with New Jersey Transit, the county, the Meadowlands
Commission -- to help us in evaluating the transportation needs and how weíre
going to deal with those needs. So we think that we have taken a very, very
proactive approach, and tend to continue to do that, to make sure that all of the
concerns that have been raised by not only this Committee, but other people in
the region, are addressed and are dealt with in a forthright and in a straight
Over the next several months, weíll work closely with my colleague
George Warrington, and people at New Jersey Transit; weíll work closely with
Bergen County and the County Executive and his staff; with the Meadowlands
Commission to do two things: Number one, weíll be performing a detailed
ridership analysis of the Meadowlands/Xanadu development proposal itself, and
how it works in conjunction with the other facilities that we have at this site,
including the racetrack and Giant Stadium. We anticipate a greater utilization
to this site will require us to be creative and innovative in terms of trying to
bring rail service to the site. And then, weíre going to access -- and weíve been
doing this on a regular basis thus far -- weíre going to access and evaluate the
different proposals and the alignments that can be made with regard to bringing
service to the site. And weíll come out with what our preferences are, and Iím
going to share a little bit about where we stand on that today. But most
importantly, we will then, I think, be able to have a consensus among all of the
groups -- and, hopefully, all the people that represent us in both the Congress
and in the Assembly and in the Senate -- to have a joint effort to work together
toward achieving our goal, which for all of us is to make sure that the people of
Bergen County have an economic engine that creates jobs, and itís an economic
engine that we can get to without being too disruptive.
So we think that what weíre doing will have a tremendous benefit
to the region, economically. We think that we are on top of it in terms of
dealing with the issue. We certainly know the concerns that everybody has, and
we think that weíll be able to come up with proposals that will make sense.
Now, let me just say -- with regard to some of the comments that
have been made about where money should come from, or when money should
come, and where it fits in with economic development -- I have been involved
in almost my entire career with economic development in one form or another.
As you know, Iím also the Chairman of the New Brunswick Development
Corporation. And in New Brunswick -- if you come to New Brunswick today,
you can see a tremendous amount of economic development that has taken
place. And weíve had the same types of issues, and have dealt with those issues
in a forthright manner and have been successful. The idea of sitting back and
doing nothing until we have an exact plan will never work. We cannot do that
and still have economic development. The idea that you would not pay any
money or raise any money from any Federal, State, or local political affiliation
to, as Assemblyman Rooney said before -- because it was a private development,
is also not the answer.
Nineteen thousand people will come here and work. Nineteen
thousand people that will need to get to work. And we have an obligation to
make sure that they can do that without being clogged on the roads. And so we
need to be a little bit more creative than just saying, "Sit back and wait until
something is concrete in terms of this development." Weíve got to work
together as a group to try to accomplish this or weíll end up with the same
situation that we had in the í70s, which is not getting rail here and not being
successful in our endeavors. And the money is there. Frankly, if the State of
New Jersey can spend a billion dollars for a rail line from Camden to Trenton,
which some consultants tell me, today, has got to be one of the most inefficient
lines thatís ever been built, we certainly can find whatever -- $150 million, $200
million -- to bring rail service where weíre going to have 19,000 additional jobs.
We have six million visitors a year, and weíve got to find a way to do that.
We think, at the Authority, from the discussions that weíve had,
that the concentration should be on heavy rail off of the Bergen, Passaic --
Pascack Valley Lines; that it should be done in conjunction with a station and
Encap, and access being on a spur off of that heavy rail line. We think that the
county engineers agree with us on that point. Iíll let them speak for themselves.
I think that New Jersey Transit will be looking closely at that alternative. So I
think, from our standpoint, thatís the area that we should pursue, and weíll
work with the Committee, and with anybody else that wants to, on
Let me just close by saying that we deeply appreciate the interest
that all of you have shown in this process. We do need the support. And once
we do reach a conclusion in terms of something that is a consensus way to go
forward, weíre going to need both political parties, the Assembly, the Senate, the
Congress, as well as the administrative branch of the government, to accomplish
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Executive
I have to agree with the comments you make as it relates to -- no
matter what, we need to have some form of public transportation to bring the
workers here and to guarantee the economic development. Itís ironic that when
this complex was built the public transportation was not a part of it.
Unfortunately, weíve lived with that for, now, almost 30 years. So I want to
agree with you and commend you on that.
Now Iíll turn it over to Executive Director Warrington, from New
G E O R G E W A R R I N G T O N: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As you know, I was born in Bayonne, and I grew up in Ridgefield
Park, just a stoneís throw from here, and have watched for 30 years, as George
said, a lot of discussion occur about transit access to the Meadowlands -- but
never a consensus or the concept being given a real lift. As you know, timing in
life is everything. The good news is, it feels like there is, for the first time in 30
years, genuine interest in developing consensus about the concept of transit
serving the Meadowlands and the broader Meadowlands community here. We
are about doing the right kind of planning work, concept planning and planning
work, very cooperatively, with George and his staff and with Bergen County, to
develop the best possible services, serving the maximum number of markets,
both as an origin and as a destination around this specific complex and the
And I will tell you that we are using a handful of guiding principles
to, sort of, govern that planning work, which weíll be deeply into with George
and his folks, and Bergen County, and the HMDC over the next four to six
months. The principles revolve around a couple of concepts. One is
connectivity. We believe it is important to build off New Jerseyís existing,
statewide, literally statewide, commuter rail system in order access and tap into
multiple markets all across the state.
Number two, frequency. As is the case with transit, generally,
success generally flows from frequency. And we need to design a service that
provides the right kind of frequency to serve multiple markets at multiple times.
Flexibility is clearly important as well. And future opportunities and needs must
also be, potentially, accommodated and protected so that we donít close out
options over the longer haul, particularly with respect to not only todayís
development plan, but potential development plans over the next 20 and 30
years. And obviously, as is the case, increasingly, with all of the investments we
make commercially, selecting a plan that offers the most benefit to the most
markets -- primarily translating into riders or trips or, for us, customers -- but,
also, for the right cost, with a concern not only about the up-front capital
investment cost, but the day-to-day operating and maintenance costs associated
with the system.
We believe, and I think George said this a few moments earlier, we
believe, right now, the best opportunity to accomplish these goals, for providing
this kind of service, is to build off the existing statewide passenger rail network
that includes lines on two sides of this current complex in East Rutherford. To
the west of this complex, we have the Pascack Valley Line that comes down
from northern Bergen County, through Hackensack, to a junction with the
Bergen County Line. The line is located less than one mile from the western
edge of the existing property. To the south of this complex is the Bergen County
Line that serves northwest Bergen County and slices through the county to the
southeast, passing just south of the Sports Authorityís property. And most
importantly, the Secaucus Transfer Station complex, which is the nexus of the
entire commuter rail system in New Jersey, is located about five miles to the
southeast of the complex and can be accessed from either of the two lines I just
referenced, adjacent to the Sports Authority property.
This transfer station is going to provide travelers with the
opportunity to connect with, as I said earlier, all rail lines serving the northern
portion of the state. And by northern portion of the state, I mean all points in
the State of New Jersey from Trenton to Ocean County north, and is only about
a seven-minute ride from midtown Manhattan to the Secaucus Transfer site.
And I presume that, ultimately, a significant portion of the market that any
development, here, is going to need to tap into is not only the midtown market
but the lower Manhattan market as well, which is well-served by PATH to
Hoboken, to a potential service to Secaucus as well.
Using the existing statewide rail network, in addition to reducing
overall project costs, will result in faster project delivery and avoid or minimize
new construction in what we all know is a significantly environmentally
sensitive area. Also, using these existing rail lines, the train service will be able
to go to Hoboken, where travelers can access the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
Line, PATH service to midtown or lower Manhattan, as well as ferry service
touching many points on both the East Side and the West Side of Manhattan.
We believe linking the planning for access to the complex with an
idea that Bergen and Passaic County have recently championed -- to use the
present freight line, owned by the NYS and W, for a local rail transit distributor
using an emerging new technology that the Congressman referenced earlier,
called Diesel MUs -- also holds some promise, ultimately. Recently, weíve
begun talking about this concept as a Bergen/Passaic/Meadowlands connector.
The use of new technology, including diesel multiple-unit trains, offers
extraordinary flexibility to provide more frequent service, particularly more
frequent service than is commonly able to be provided by heavy commuter rail
service. And these cars would need to -- and today there is a manufacturer that
does comply with the Federal Railroad Administrationís 800,000-pound,
buff-strength requirement, which is necessary for operating a commuter train --
or a light rail train, for that matter -- in the same right-of-way with a freight
Last October, as a matter of fact, one of the manufacturers of this
type of car, the Colorado Railcar Manufacturing Company -- who I have
actually visited, in an earlier life, at their manufacturing plant in Colorado --
demonstrated this kind of equipment in Bergen County, operating along the
Susquehanna and Western Railroad from Hackensack to Hawthorne. The
exciting part of this project will be, if we can achieve a solution using our own
existing passenger rail infrastructure -- with some modest additional links that
can connect Passaic County, Bergen County with the sports complex and the
Secaucus Transfer Station, which accesses the entire commuter rail system; and
Hoboken, which connects to the PATH system and the ferry system -- we have
a system that really works for, virtually, every market in Northern New Jersey
Funding for the project will be a challenge, as it is with all projects.
Itís expected that the private sector, as George referenced, would need to be a
participant in the total funding plan created for the project. We also may need
to consider phasing of proposed improvements to make it easier to implement
and easier to fund. And the kind of concept I talked about earlier could
conceivably be designed and engineered in reasonable, buildable, bite-sized
The plan that is being envisioned will also include consideration for
a proposed station at the Encap development, just southwest of the sports
complex. The solution we want to pursue needs to positively support whatever
the planned development is at the sports complex, as well as on all of the
adjacent and nearby properties. So, what are we focused on? We need to
collectively determine a couple of things: An alignment connecting either the
Pascack or the Bergen County Line that is feasible and can be built at a
reasonable cost off of those lines into the complex, well-coordinated with midto
longer-term development plans. We need to determine the number of riders
that might use the new service. And to do that, we need to understand the
existing mid-term and long-term potential markets. We need to develop a rail
service and potential operating plan, and flush out the operating characteristics
of cars, like DMU cars, and how they might be used on the existing commuter
And, obviously, we all need to thoroughly understand, before taking
the plunge, what the capital as well as the long-term operating costs of a service
such as this might be. It is the work that is underway. We are working very,
very closely with George and his staff, and Bergen County --
Hackensack/Meadowlands Development Commission. We want to work very
closely with the Legislature and the Committee, Mr. Chairman, so that we have
the right kind of plan that is rational and practical, that serves the maximum
number of markets across the entire State of New Jersey and in the region, and
one which makes a material impact on traffic congestion. We just donít want
to build a railroad for the sake of building a railroad. We want to make a
difference. We want it to be reasonable and cost-effective.
I would expect that over the next three, four, five, and six months,
we will be able to produce much of the product of the work that I just
referenced earlier, and we can have more discussion about what we all believe,
as public policy makers, is the right thing for this complex, not only over the
short haul, but over the longer haul.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much.
I just want to, again, emphasize what both of you said, and that is
that in any development here, the private developers would have a role to play,
financially, in helping to construct any type of mass transit into the area. And
itís important to emphasize that, obviously, they have a stake in that, as the
State does, and as the Federal government or the Port Authority, also.
I have one question. The concept of the heavy rail versus light rail:
Iíve never really heard that much about the Colorado cars. Do they actually run
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes.
MR. WARRINGTON: Itís actually very interesting. For decades,
the concept of a flexible, light rail, kind of, vehicle -- that behaves like a light
rail vehicle, but which is capable of operating as a single unit or as multiple
units, and that could operate in railroad rights-of-way with adjacent commuter
or freight trains -- has never existed. The interesting concept that Colorado
Coach has developed, which is a very interesting niche-- When you look across
this country at the future of passenger rail service, primarily existing on corridors
that are owned by private freight railroads, the future niche is, can you develop
a flexible service that can run a lot of frequencies like a light rail car, but that
can physically and safely operate in a freight or heavy right-of-way? And what
theyíve put together here is a piece of equipment that does both.
And I would expect that the rail car manufacturing industry, which
is primarily a European and a Canadian industry, will very quickly jump into
that niche. And hopefully, weíll see a fair amount of competition around the
provision of that kind of a car, which would serve this kind of a need
extraordinarily well, but other needs, not only in this state, but across the
country, as well.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: One of the things that concerns me
about the use of the heavy rail is the number of transfers that would have to
take place. Iím thinking of somebody coming from Bayonne, here, would have
to transfer from the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail to -- obviously, in Hoboken they
would have to then go to the heavy rail, to the Secaucus transfer, to then
transfer on to another car that would take you into the Meadowlands. Thatís
three different forms of transportation at two transfers. It seems to be that--
And again, I would think that, my opinion would be that, a lot of the catchment
area for the people who work here would be not only Bergen, but Hudson
County. That would be one of my concerns, because the more times you have
to transfer, the more complicated it becomes, and more time-consuming also.
MR. WARRINGTON: Yes. Mr. Chairman, I agree with that. You
raise a very good point. The interesting thing about this concept, though, is that
Hoboken really is an increasingly large anchor for us, as the nexus of the PATH
rail system, as well as the ferry operation, and the light rail system from
Bayonne and, ultimately, points north. And the interesting thing here about a
DMU car is, in effect, the terminal for the beginning of that operation would be
Hoboken. You would get off the light rail system from anywhere on the
waterfront, transfer to this DMU equipment that would actually originate in
Hoboken, would make a stop at a Secaucus Transfer where you would not have
to transfer, and then you would head north, and depending upon the
configuration, either work into a spur or, ultimately some day, perhaps, a loop
that would return back to the Bergen County Line.
So, right now, the planning would envision a single transfer at
Hoboken, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Okay. I was wondering that because
otherwise, one of the reasons why -- I felt the light rail coming directly out here
would expedite the movement of people. Because, as you know, people donít
like to transfer, and the more intermodal changes you have to make, the more
difficult it is for people to go on mass transit.
Are there any other questions?
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I just would like to comment. Is
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Yes, sure.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Iím very pleased, George
Warrington, that youíre moving in that direction, because it is economically
sound, and it would be put into operation much more quickly. George, you
would like that, because it would happen very fast.
I love the light rail. Itís been our baby since its inception, and we
want to continue to work in that area, but only where itís viable and where itís
feasible. I think, again, there are a lot of things we will be talking about in the
future about standards, etc., to save on money for consultants, and maybe eke
out that money to extend light rail.
Again, Mr. Zoffinger, I know you referenced South Jersey, but that
was a capital investment by the South Jersey senator. Itís an entirely different
animal. Itís a 34-mile piece that was for economic development, long term, and
we figure in five years itís going to be okay. But we canít keep jabbing at what
has happened in the past. We have to go ahead and look at whatís happening
in the future.
A question for you, Mr. Zoffinger. The millions of dollars you
alluded to in the Xanadu plan for transportation, isnít that just for road
MR. ZOFFINGER: No, no. Absolutely not.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: What is it for?
MR. ZOFFINGER: And let me just say, Iím not taking jabs at the
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Okay.
MR. ZOFFINGER: I think that, what Iím saying is, that if we can
find a way to put a billion dollars into that line, which has very little ridership,
that we should be able to find a way to put a spur into the Meadowlands where
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I agree.
MR. ZOFFINGER: --at the beginning of the whole point youíll
have six million visitors just for games, and how many of those will take the
line? But youíll also have 19,000 permanent jobs here, when the Xanadu
development is done.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Absolutely.
MR. ZOFFINGER: So you have -- it wasnít meant as jabs against
it. I just think that if we can find the money for that, we should be able to find
the money for this.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I agree.
MR. ZOFFINGER: With regard to the $65 million, it has not been
earmarked for any specific type of infrastructure.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Oh, okay.
MR. ZOFFINGER: Itís for infrastructure improvements which we
would agree upon. And thatís why we have hired Edwards and Kelsey to
represent us, to look at what the best alternative with that is.
I failed to mention, too, Mr. Chairman and Assemblywoman Heck,
that weíve also included the teams, the football teams. Because regardless of
what happens, we still will have the two football teams here, all right, in
addition to the Xanadu, and we still will have the racetrack here. So itís
important to have all of those points involved.
And one final point, if I may, and I donít mean to do it, but it has
been very important in our discussion -- I think George pointed it out, but I
wanted to reiterate it -- that we also have access from northern Bergen into the
Meadowlands, not only from the south and the Secaucus Transfer, but we need
to have access from northern Bergen. Because we think a lot of customers come
from that region, also, as has been pointed out.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblyman Sarlo.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Yes, not to belabor the point. The
problem, I think, with the South Jersey, where it was a billion dollars of State
dollars, there was no Federal participation. I think thatís what frustrates most
of us, that there was no Federal participation there. It was all State dollars that
we sent to Camden.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: As a point of clarification, the
reason that occurred was so that the Hudson-Bergen Line would get all its
money, and that was the agreement -- that we would not compete for Federal
dollars in the north and the south.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: I would have just liked a portion of
that money, for the Meadowlands, years ago.
But, George, you had a good point, and maybe itís the engineer in
me. But three words -- flexibility, frequency, and connectivity, all maximizing
ridership. Thatís what itís all about, regardless of what type of rail it is. Thatís
what itís all about.
ASSEMBLYMAN JOHNSON: A comment from the 37th district.
I support this, of course, because just as it will increase or improve the quality
of life for those who go to work here and, also, come here for entertainment, one
of our goals, and I havenít heard this yet, is what we callclean air. This will be
a move that will, I guess, improve the quality of the air in this area by reducing
vehicular traffic. So, in support of that, or to achieve that, I support this
project. Of course, I cannot support this project at the risk of losing the
northern branch, but we have to have rail link to this facility to make it a
success, I believe.
So, thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Just one more thing. We have a
number of bills in the Assembly -- for some reason or other, our Speaker has not
-- and the other side of the aisle, the Senate, has not chosen to look at it. But
we do need environmental impact studies and transportation studies, and itís
not being looked at.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I want to just thank both Executive
Directors, Executive Directors Zoffinger and Warrington, for their comments.
And, obviously, this is an ongoing process and ongoing project, and we all know
that there is a need here. So we want to thank you for taking the time out to
join with us, and weíll look forward to working with both of you in the future.
MR. ZOFFINGER: Thank you.
MR. WARRINGTON: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Iíd also like to recognize a matter,
before we call the next witness. Former Congressman Bob Rowe, who is here
and who has been responsible for so much of the infrastructure thatís occurred
in this state -- we want to thank him for being here.
Also, Assemblyman Matt Ahearn is in the audience, and we want
to thank him for coming.
Also, former Assemblyman Jack Kelly is, also, here, and we want
to thank him for being here, also.
I want to call up, now, the County Executive of Bergen County,
Dennis McNerny, for his comments. Welcome, County Executive, you have a
daunting task before you, but Iím sure youíll do a very good job.
D E N N I S M c N E R N Y: Thanks, Assemblyman.
Members of the Committee, Sports Authority Director George
Zoffinger, and Chairman Goldman (sic), thank you for keeping us cold, I think,
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to testify today in what
I believe is a critical economic and quality-of-life issue for Bergen County and
the region, actually, as a whole. I, also, would like to thank Congressman
Rothman for his comments, in the past, and for future funding.
I want to commend you, Assemblyman Doria, for calling this
important meeting to discuss how we can really enhance our regionís economy
through mass transportation. Itís great to see my Assemblyman, John Rooney,
here, and members of the Bergen delegation -- Rose Heck; and from District 37,
Gordon Johnson. I also want to commend Assemblyman Sarlo, since this is his
district, and his tireless work on the issue. As a Bergen County resident, first
and foremost, Assemblyman Sarlo has actually-- I appreciate everything heís
doing to promote the economic vitality of the towns surrounding the
Meadowlands, like the Rutherfords and Ridgewood, Lyndhurst, and others. We
should always include, I believe, the local input for anything we do in this. I
want the Assembly and everyone who looks at this issue to include the local
towns for their input.
I also agree with Assemblyman Sarlo that a mass transit component
at the Meadowlands is vital to the regional economic growth. Aside from the
priority, that Assemblyman Rooney discussed before, of the northern branch,
which I agree with -- far too long Bergen County residents have not been able
to access the Meadowlands Sports Complex site by way of rail. And this is
made all the more apparent by the constant bumper-to-bumper traffic you see
here on the Turnpike, on Route 3, on Route 17, going to any Giant game or Jet
game or any major concert event.
The redevelopment of the sports complex site represents a unique
and grand scale opportunity for Bergen County in this respect. The Xanadu
project, which was recently announced by the Sports Authority, is going to be
a major, mixed-use activity center of regional significance. Itís really going to
be an entertainment destination, and itís going to be a true destination.
Together with those activities and the current site, which is Giant Stadium and
Continental Arena, as well as -- letís not include the proposed Encap golf and
resort complex just south of this site -- itís going to serve as another destination
to attract even more visitors throughout the metropolitan area.
So now is the time to ensure that these visitors can and must be
reached, actually, by rail. I donít think the roads, really -- we all know -- canít
really take any more impact on that. We believe that the rail transit must be an
element for this redevelopment. That is why rail access to the Meadowlands is
so vital. I believe, with the Bergen County Department of Planning, that there
should be a form of hub and spur approach: A spur line feeding into the
Meadowlands from a hub location, about, probably, along the current Bergen
and Passaic Valley Line, that pass just west of this site, south of Route 3 -- I
donít know, really, where the location would be of that transit center -- tying the
site into the Bergen County, and, actually, points north.
Yet, like somebody said before, you want to include the Bergen
Line, the Main Line, to get the new sites that New Jersey Transit is going to
build -- the new Ramsey Line, people from Ridgewood -- from there, and also
from the Secaucus Transfer and from Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and Hoboken
in the south. This will have the overall effect of really reducing congestion on
our highways, with Bergen County residents reaching the site from the north
directly by rail, and the large customer base from New York City, and the
region, as a whole, accessing the site by way of the Secaucus Transfer.
As the County Executive, I feel that working on ways, immediately,
to provide rail service to the Meadowlands would enhance not only the countyís
economy, but the economy of this region, and the State as a whole. I would ask
that this panel study what I just laid out carefully, and as expeditiously as
possible, so the rail component can be included in the specific site plans for
Xanadu. Simply put, providing rail service into this county is a win-win
situation for all of us, and Iím sure we all agree.
Thank you for allowing me to address you this morning, and I look
forward to working productively with this Committee, Congressman Rothman,
and Mr. Zoffinger on this issue in the future. Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Mr. County
Executive. I think your comments are well-taken. Obviously, the importance
of cooperation between the County of Bergen and New Jersey Transit, as well
as the Sports and Exposition Authority, is very important. So we thank you for
your willingness to be part of the solution.
Any questions or comments?
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: I want to thank you, personally, for
the mention of the northern line. I would suggest, as the County Executive,
perhaps you schedule a meeting with our legislators in Bergen County to look
at the West Shore Line, the northern line, etc., and to really put our thoughts
forward as to where weíre going in the future. Weíve got to be of one mind. We
have to decide on the projects that are important to Bergen County, and we
have to go after them and let this panel know and, basically, let our Congress
representatives also know. Iíve talked briefly to Scott Garrett about the
northern line, and he does-- That is his district. Heís interested in it, so thatís
a Bergen County issue, and weíve got to get together.
Thank you very much.
MR. McNERNY: Right. I look forward to that, and I--
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Schedule a meeting.
MR. McNERNY: --know Mr. Warrington did look at the
cross-county line. My vision is, as a Bergen County resident -- I will be
parochial -- and the executive, Iíd grab everything I could. We just have to
really ferret that out.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you. Thank you very much.
Next, Bob Ceberio, the Executive Director of the New Jersey
R O B E R T R. C E B E R I O: Thank you.
Good morning to the Committee members, and thank you for
coming into the Meadowlands to discuss a very important issue that not only
is the sports complex facing, but the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission is
facing as well. When the Legislature created the Meadowlands district in 1969,
it recognized it as a strategic location, only six or eight miles from Manhattan,
and the importance of -- as a job center, as a recreational center, and as a
Weíre in the midst, right now, of developing a new master plan, a
master plan thatís going to not only include the development at the sports
complex, but looks at the potential of $5.6 billion in private capital investment.
It looks at $5 billion in new rateables, $116 million in new taxes to our 14
municipalities, the creation of 55,000 new jobs in the district, and more
importantly, it does all this through redevelopment and brownfield
development, and no impacts in terms of the wetlands.
Weíre looking at mixed-use developments. Weíre looking at transit
villages. Weíre looking at developing a sense of community, a sense of place,
and to preserving those environmental areas. One of our major projects thatís
included in the master plan is the Meadowlands Golf Redevelopment Project,
a project that will take 950 acres of old landfills and convert them to green,
open spaces for golf courses -- two public courses -- some office development,
some housing development. But the most important element is that it will
convert all of South Bergen and part of Hudson County, from Kearny to
Rutherford, into 1,250 acres of green, open space, as opposed to landfill
operations and dumping. As has been indicated previously, weíre focusing in on
allowing the private sector to make that contribution in terms of not only the
infrastructure improvement, but, in this particular case, the cleanup costs for
those landfills, which will come out to be about $300 million.
At this point in time, because of our master plan project, because
of this Encap project -- now, I have to point out that the master plan, in this
version of our master plan, the sports complex development is included in that
to make sure that all the impacts of the district can be measured together. I
have to point out that -- the cooperation by George Zoffinger and his staff to
make sure that, for the first time in a long time, State agencies are actually
talking to each other--
The same with George Warrington. I mean, it may sound like a
novel idea, but instead of agencies fighting each other for turf, weíre actually
sitting together and coming up with practical, effective alternatives, in terms of
mass transit approaches. So I have to give them a public congratulations and
a thank you from the Meadowlands Commission, as the regional planning
agency, making our job much easier than what it has been.
The idea of -- we are entering into a position here that we will never
be able to enter into again, in terms of the Secaucus Transfer Station opening
up, the light rail coming through to North Bergen, and onward to Vince
Lombardi. The days of new roads construction is gone. It may have worked for
Robert Moses, but itís not working anymore. We have to -- and our master
plan is making that a strategic element -- that our master plan requires mass
transit opportunities to bring people to work.
Assemblyman Doria made that point. Unless you have a car, you
cannot get a job in the Meadowlands district, unless you make at least four or
five transfers. And if you get on that last bus, youíre going to walk two miles to
employment. And if you look at the Meadowlands district, there are
employment opportunities, from people from Jersey City, from North Bergen,
from Newark, from Paterson, from all around this area -- the four major
counties around this area -- that if we had mass transit opportunities, there
would be a whole avenue of economic gain for those employees that are trying
to find jobs and canít get here.
The success of our master plan, itís focus on quality-of-life issues,
is the key in terms of bringing mass transit. And as you heard -- and I think itís
an encouraging sign that the two Georges, George Warrington and George
Zoffinger, along with the County Executive, have indicated to you that the work
is underway, well underway, in terms of bringing a preferred alternative to this
Committee in several months, as to how the mass transit will not only gain
access to the sports complex site, but from our perspective, we look at it from
a regional perspective. This is not a Xanadu mass transit project. Itís a
Meadowlands mass transit project that will impact all 14 towns.
For the first time, the Secaucus Transfer will be the transit hub of
the Meadowlands district. Weíve never had that before. Weíve never had the
ability to access the light rail from North Bergen and to bring people into the
Meadowlands district. And Chairman Doria is right, the more transfers that you
have to make, the worse itís going to be in terms of attracting people to get out
of their cars and to move onto mass transit.
Thereís a new day here. I believe that with all the stakeholders
behind me, with the cooperation of the sports complex, with Bergen County,
with Hudson County, with NJ Transit, and our agency -- the New Jersey
Meadowlands Commission -- weíre looking at it from a practical, cost-efficient
perspective. Weíre looking at mass transit opportunities in terms of the least
amount of dollars that we can use for mass transit opportunity.
And I think you heard this morning that weíre almost at the same
point in terms of making sure that the connection-in isnít around the
Pascack/Bergen Line area, to make sure that we minimize the cost to bring
transit into the sports complex. But again, I look at it from a different
perspective, not just the sports complex. I look at it as to what we can provide
in terms of the 14 towns. So thatís why I really appreciate the fact that youíre
here today. Iím also very encouraged that the public and all the stakeholders --
and thereís a lot of work thatís still to be done -- heard today that you have
agencies that are most effective working together in a very coordinated fashion.
We are very hopeful that, with your help and Congressman Rothmanís help, we
can get people out of those cars and into mass transit opportunities. And if we
donít do it now, we will never do it.
I leave you with this. In 1972 and 1978, there were various public
hearings on the sports complex. Those documents, pretty much, went into great
detail how mass transit must be a component here at the sports complex. I
think today, though, with the Secaucus Transfer, with the light rail opportunity
punching in, I think we have that opportunity today. If we lose this leverage
point with this economic engine of Xanadu, or whoever it might be, we will lose
it -- we will never regain that opportunity again.
Iíd like to thank the Committee for being here today, and I
appreciate your efforts. If thereís anything we can do to help you in terms of
planning and so forth, weíd gladly be there.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Bob.
Are there any questions for-- (no response)
Thank you very much.
MR. CEBERIO: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: We appreciate your comments.
MR. CEBERIO: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I want to recognize, in the audience,
also, Freeholder-Mayor Bernadette McPherson.
Next, Fred Dressel, who is the Mayor of Moonachie and the Chair
of the Meadowlands Mayors Commission. (no response)
He may have stepped out. Is he here? (no response)
Weíll do Mark Munley, then, the Executive Director of Jersey City
Economic, Housing and Commerce Department (sic).
M A R K M U N L E Y: Good afternoon.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, for
inviting me here today. At the request of and on behalf of Mayor Glen
Cunningham, Iím pleased to appear here before this Committee. Your presence,
and the fact that a hearing on the issue of mass transportation and light rail is
being held in the northeastern part of the state, is proof to the community that
the Legislature is concerned about the presence of light rail and rail
transportation in this local. Consequently, we know that you recognize the
importance of mass transportation to the economic vitality of the region.
The experience which Jersey City has had with the light rail has,
obviously, been very positive. The development that has taken place in Jersey
City can, in good measure, be attributed to the transportation infrastructure
which services the city and, in particular, the waterfront.
The light rail system, as it services parts of Hudson County, now
has, and we trust will continue, to be a benefit to the city and its citizens.
Certainly, the extension of light rail north along Hudson Countyís Gold Coast
over the coming years is a goal which can and must be realized. The
continuation of that service into Bergen County is, in our opinion, essential as
However, youíve gathered here today to hear comment from various
constituents and interest groups as they view the potential for development or
redevelopment of the New Jersey Meadowlands district. It goes without saying
that the redevelopment of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authorityís
Arena site will have a substantial economic impact on the entire region. The
construction jobs that will be generated by this redevelopment will certainly
benefit those many workers who reside in Jersey City and Hudson County. And
as we look to the future, the permanent jobs to be created can and should be
shared by the workforce available in Jersey City and in Hudson County. In
order for that to occur, you have to recognize the need for mass transportation
to service the sports complex venue as it is redeveloped.
At this early stage of consideration, we are pleased to participate
with you and have the opportunity to offer our comments regarding just how
that rail service should be put in place. In order for the workforce of Jersey City
and Hudson County to be available to the site, an element of
interconnectedness with existing mass transit facilities, we believe, is crucial.
Assuming that a rail line is extended from the New Jersey Transit Bergen County
and/or Pascack Valley Line easterly into the sports complex venue, there will be
an opportunity for individuals residing in the southern portion of Jersey City and
in parts of Bayonne to travel to the site via rail.
Iím assuming, of course, that they would travel by light rail to either
exchange place of Hoboken, where they could board a train to travel west, on
the Bergen County Line, to arrive at the redevelopment site at the sports
complex. It would appear that time and money could be saved if existing rail
rights-of-way and existing tracks were utilized in developing the method to bring
rail to the site in question.
We would suggest, however, that the mere ability to travel by rail
to the site is not nearly enough to provide the job opportunities that I referred
to earlier. Frequency of stops and frequency of service are crucial to getting
workers to and from the job site. How that is accomplished will most probably
be determined in the coming months. We look forward to the opportunity to
participate in that decision-making process, because the jobs created here can
and should be available to the eager workers who reside in Jersey City and in
Thereís no doubt that a substantial number of jobs will be created
here at the sports complex redevelopment site. Additional jobs, however, will
be created at the Encap golf and residential developments, which will take place
in Rutherford and Lyndhurst. We would ask you to consider, as well, the fact
that there are existing businesses in the Meadowlands area, as well as new
economic opportunities which are on the drawing boards or are at various stages
of development and redevelopment. Many of these opportunities exist close to
or immediately adjacent to existing rail lines, particularly the Bergen County and
Pascack Lines of New Jersey Transit.
The jobs that exist in the neighborhoods adjacent to the rail lines
and the jobs that can, and we hope will, be created in the redevelopment areas
adjacent to those rail lines, are jobs that should be available to those residents
of Jersey City and Hudson County who either want to or need to travel to and
from work by mass transportation. In other words, a train to the game falls
short of the goal that we see obtainable if mass transportation, via rail system,
is developed and brought to the Meadowlands district so that it serves the
region, not simply one or two specific sites.
In closing, we do not offer very specific recommendations as to the
type of railcar service or rail service to be employed, but we re-emphasize the
need for interconnectedness, as well as the frequency of stops and frequency of
service. We look forward to bringing the resources of Jersey City to your
assistance as you come to making a decision with respect to providing this better
form of transportation to the region.
Thank you for your consideration.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much, Mark.
Any questions, comments? (no response)
As I understand it, Freeholder-Mayor McPherson is going to be
representing Fred Dressel, as the mayor of the Meadowlands communities, and
then sheíll be followed by former Assemblyman Jack Kelly.
F R E E H O L D E R - M A Y O R B E R N A D E T T E P. M c P H E R S O N:Thank
you. Good morning. Iíll do my best to represent Mayor Dressel.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Iím sure youíll do a very good job.
FREEHOLDER-MAYOR McPHERSON: Good morning. Itís
gratifying to be here and to be a member of the Light Rail Advisory Panel,
headed by Assemblyman Paul Sarlo. Iím here this morning -- I represent both
the Borough of Rutherford as mayor; I am, also, a Bergen County Freeholder,
and serve as the liaison to the Planning and Economic Development
Departments, as well as the County Executiveís alternate to the NJTPA. Itís,
again, gratifying to be here.
Itís good that the important issue of mass transportation in the
Meadowlands area is brought to the forefront. This is an important issue. For
many years itís been talked about, and now the appropriate focus is being
placed on it. Also, what is gratifying is to see the cooperation between the
various departments, the various political parties, the various elected officials
on this particular topic. I urge the Transportation Committee to continue to
work in tandem with all the stakeholders and departments -- the New Jersey
Meadowlands Commission, the Department of Transportation, New Jersey
Transit, the NJSEA, and the Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce, among
others -- and also to be cognizant of all projects that are proposed and taking
place in the Meadowlands area that will impact the dire need for mass transit.
The Encap development, which was mentioned, the link redevelopment area,
which is in Rutherford, the proposed overhaul of Route 3 in Rutherford,
Lyndhurst, and Clifton, as well as other projects in surrounding communities--
Further, I urge you, as the County Executive did, to continue,
through the mayors present, and also through the Bergen County Board of
Chosen Freeholders, through the Bergen County Office of Planning, to reach out
to planning board members in municipalities within this area, and to the county,
to keep yourselves apprised, as well as us apprised, on an ongoing basis, and to
continue the dialogue.
If there is disagreement over what the best plan should be for the
Meadowlands area in terms of mass transit, perhaps keeping ourselves apprised
of whatís coming down the pike may make the choice clearer. Again, I
commend you for your efforts to work together and to keep everyone on the
same page on this important issue. I have great confidence in the Committee,
particularly in my Assemblyman, Paul Sarlo. He has the expertise and the
determination to protect our interests here and to address and alleviate the
concerns of our residents. Sitting back and doing nothing is not something that
he is accustomed to, and the engineering degree helps, too, I think.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Thank you, Bernadette.
FREEHOLDER-MAYOR McPHERSON: I pledge the continued
cooperation of the Board of Chosen Freeholders and the Borough of Rutherford
in this important endeavor.
I think Mayor Dressel may have returned.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you. Thank you very much,
Mayor McPherson. We appreciate your comments.
Any questions from the members of the panel? (no response)
Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Thank you, Mayor.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: We have with us a former colleague
and good friend, Assemblyman Jack Kelly. Heís not wearing his Irish tie, but
heís wearing-- I have that same tie at home.
J O H N V. K E L L Y: You do? Itís a Republican tie. What are you doing
with that? (laughter)
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Well, no, itís got Democrats on it, too,
Assemblyman. I donít know if I have the "I like Ike."
MR. KELLY: You know, I like Ike. (laughter) It also has Hoover
on -- thatís when I was a little boy. (laughter)
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: No, we donít want to mention Herbert
Hoover, come on.
MR. KELLY: Two frankfurters in every pot, or whatever the hell
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Chicken in every pot.
MR. KELLY: Chicken.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Chicken.
MR. KELLY: Joe -- Chairman, I think when you were in a playpen,
there was a law firm in Jersey City by the name of Evas (phonetic spelling),
Leahy (phonetic spelling), and I donít remember the other Irishman, but they
taught at St. Peterís College. And at that time, they asked me, in 1947, if I
wanted to serve on a commission to discuss the viability of a rail line from your
town up to Edgewater. I think it became an actuality a couple of years ago. I
hope this plan isnít going to be as long as that.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thatís a long time.
MR. KELLY: It was.
Iím here because Iím concerned about not only the future economic
viability of the Meadowlands, but the economic future of the region as well.
Iím even more concerned about the people who live in the Meadowlands region
who will have to contend with the traffic nightmares created by the Mills
Thirty years ago, the State took control of a vast area we call the
Meadowlands, which we all know. The State promised to create a recreational
playground that would pay great dividends for our State. That promise, in my
view, has not yet been fulfilled. Similarly, the State promised a rail connection
to the Meadowlands to alleviate the local traffic. That promise, too, has not
been fulfilled. Do you remember it? I donít know. I remember it very well.
Iím not a traffic engineer, but you donít have to know that to know the key to
the economic future of the Meadowlands and the surrounding area is the
immediate and guaranteed investment in a comprehensive rail network plan, not
piecemeal, not a Band-Aid, but a major investment in mass transit.
Right now, as the State is planning to redevelop the Meadowlands,
the State has a great opportunity to deliver on the promises made to us 30 years
ago. The State has the opportunity to invest in a mass transit system that will
take the cars off the roads and the exhaust pollution out of the air. If we do not
properly plan now for the mass transit of the Meadowlands, if we do not
demand that the developer, who stands to make millions from this project,
contribute mightily to a mass transit system, then weíll have squandered an
opportunity to bring the mass transportation that we need in this district.
About 18 months ago, if you recall -- and you better remember it --
Bergen County Executive Pat Schuber detailed an extensive plan for
interconnected rail transportation in Bergen County -- do you remember it --
including the Meadowlands. What happened to that plan? As usual, it became
the victim of petty regional and governmental squabbles and became a victim
of political maneuvering and agency sloth. Hey, what do you think of that?
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Wasnít that one of the capital sins?
MR. KELLY: Yes, itís one of the capital sins.
Iím here to tell you that there is no more time for political deals and
agency squabbles. New Jersey Transit, the State Legislature, the Federal
Government must work together to get the rail system in place for the
When he unveiled his plan 18 months ago, Pat Schuber noted that
the rail transportation has not grown by a single station in Bergen County in
more than 50 years. Is that true? You know it is. Thatís unconscionable.
What has New Jersey Transit been investing in during the past half century that
is more important than serving the transit needs of the largest population in the
State of New Jersey, Bergen County. Where a 50-year-old rail system makes it
impossible for a person from Nutley, where I live, or Passaic or Garfield, who
wants to see an event in the Meadowlands -- they have to take a car. Does that
make sense? I donít think so.
But the fact that our highways in South Bergen are already filled
to capacity and the State is on track to grant permits to build millions of square
feet of retail and entertainment space that will turn roads into parking lots--
Remarkably, the plan, as advanced to the State, still has failed to commit and
build a comprehensive, mass transit system to service the Meadowlands. Is that
true? Youíre shaking your head. I think it is.
Highway gridlock will not (sic) only get worse, unless people in
position of responsibility act. We donít need any more debate. We donít need
more promises, some day far in the future, we will get State or Federal passenger
rail services for the Meadowlands. We donít need any more multimillion dollar
studies. We need a fully funded plan now, not tomorrow, not next year, but a
few years down the line, now. There is no way to plan for this process unless
there is a rail system in place, fully funded and ready to go. There is no way
that one backhoe full of dirt should be dug in to start the dream, that the State
has a plan to end the traffic nightmare that envelopes this region.
As Pat Schuber noted, some will think a rail plan for the
Meadowlands is too big and too costly. But itís time to look at the cost of not
doing anything ambitious. The cost of doing nothing will be felt in the
individual cost to individuals, businesses, and the environment. It will be felt
in the cost of daily traffic jams that extend for miles in every direction morning
and evening. Itís time to do something right for the Meadowlands region. Itís
time for the State to make good on the promise to make the Meadowlands a
positive force for the region, not a headache.
Those tracks have been around here a hundred years, and -- it was
stated -- itís about time we used them. And with that, Iíll shut up. Okay.
Thank you. I enjoyed addressing you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Always very blunt and to the point.
Thank you. Thank you.
Any comments, questions? (no response)
Nope. Youíre all set.
Next, weíre going to go to Mr. Michael Luchkiw of Mills
M I C H A E L L U C H K I W, ESQ.: Mr. Chairman and panel members,
good afternoon. My name is Michael Luchkiw. Iím with the law firm of
DeCotiis, Fitzpatrick, Cole and Wisler -- here representing the Mills/Mack-Cali
development team. On behalf of the team, we appreciate the opportunity the
Committee has provided to us to present testimony in support of rail service to
the sports complex and the Xanadu family entertainment development. In
addition to mass transit, the Mills/Mack-Cali team also recognizes the need to
improve overall transportation needs in and around the arena site. In fact, as
Mr. Zoffinger mentioned before, Mills and Mack-Cali has already committed
tens of millions of dollars of its own money toward road and other
A rail system, which is well-planned, would certainly benefit not
only the complex in the Xanadu development, but the entire region as a whole.
We recognize that numerous plans have been developed for the complex over
the years, but have not progressed to fruition for a myriad of reasons. However,
the Mills/Mack-Cali team has taken the initial steps to assist the region to move
this important rail initiative forward in an expeditious fashion, in light of the
upcoming Federal reauthorization of transportation projects.
Coordination meetings have already been conducted with New
Jersey Transit, Bergen County, and others, in order to identify opportunities for
service to the arena site consistent with regional planning initiatives. As we
proceed in negotiations with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to
finalize a master development agreement, we will continue to coordinate and
assist in the development of efficient and cost-effective rail service to the
complex and to the Xanadu development. The region can expect our continued
support for the development and implementation of a rail alternative to the
Once again, I thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of
the Mills/Mack-Cali development team and the Xanadu project.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
Are there any questions from members of the Committee?
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I have a question.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you.
You know, there have been many articles in the newspapers about
Xanadu needing a mass transit plan. Itís been inThe Record, who will pay for
a rail line to Xanadu. Now, George Zoffinger mentioned that 65 million, I
believe it was--
MR. LUCHKIW: Correct.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: --is earmarked for transportation
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Not enough.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Not enough. But how much of that
money is for mass transit, do you know?
MR. LUCHKIW: Just to confirm what Mr. Zoffinger said, we
have committed $65 million for transportation improvements. Roadway
improvements, for sure, are going to be necessary in order to support the project.
As Mr. Zoffinger said, depending upon the extent of roadway improvements, a
portion of the money -- that 65 million -- could be carved off for rail
improvements, as well.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: So itís going to include road
MR. LUCHKIW: Yes. Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And if thereís any money left over,
then it might go to mass transportation?
MR. LUCHKIW: Potentially, it could. Thatís correct. Just as Mr.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Because you know my concern has
always been that the developers pay for the mass transportation, not just your
roadway. But again, thatís not your situation. I just wanted to get that on the
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Any other questions?
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: You know, weíve heard a lot about the
arena going to Newark, too, and I donít think thereís anybody up here that
wants to see that happen. Weíre all hoping it stays right here in the
Your footprint still is open enough that it will accommodate the
arena remaining here. Is that correct?
MR. LUCHKIW: Thatís absolutely correct, Assemblyman.
What weíve done is, weíve designed the project around the arena.
In effect, the arena remains as the middle of the doughnut, if you will. And
whatever may happen to the arena doesnít affect the project itself.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Iím glad to hear that, because I know
thereís nobody up here that wants to see it go -- leave this area. Iím glad to hear
itís still in the footprint.
ASSEMBLYMAN JOHNSON: Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Assemblyman Johnson.
ASSEMBLYMAN JOHNSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I need a clarification. I heard your response to Assemblywoman
Heckís question -- was if thereís money left over after the road projects, it goes
to rail. Is that correct?
MR. LUCHKIW: Well, actually, how the 65 million is carved up
has not been determined at this point in time. Admittedly, our initial focus was
on roadway improvements, recognizing at the same time, however, that rail was
important. But how that money is divided up has not yet been determined.
ASSEMBLYMAN JOHNSON: Okay. Because my understanding
was that rail would be a part of, possibly, not a residual piece, but a part of the
planning in this project. That 65 million -- a part of that will be dedicated to,
initially, putting in a rail service or looking into this -- or into this rail piece.
MR. LUCHKIW: We are certainly committed to the rail process.
As I mentioned, we have been participating in various processes thus far. Weíve
retained a couple of very well-respected consultants in the rail transportation
field. We recognize that rail is extremely important to not only our project, but
also to the greater Meadowlands region.
ASSEMBLYMAN JOHNSON: Okay.
Thank you, sir.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Just a question.
Oh, Iím sorry.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Just so you realize that, and Iím
sure you do, that any investment you make in mass transit will absolutely be
important to you in bringing your customers to the site. So I would think that
you would rethink just the amount of money that youíre putting in, and make
sure that it goes to mass transit. Thatís my opinion.
MR. LUCHKIW: Itís a very good point. We are committed to a
safe and efficient transportation system. And this certainly doesnít serve us at
all if our patrons cannot get to and from our site easily. So we are committed
to an extensive roadway, rail transportation improvements.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I hope that weíll be kept informed
as to the progress youíve made. And perhaps you might think about putting
more dollars in so that we have that piece go into place quickly.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I just want to point out, itís not only
the customers coming, itís the people working.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes. Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thatís important, because, I mean,
19,000 people need a way to get there.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: But without the customers coming
there will be no people working.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: There will be no people working.
Youíre absolutely right. The chicken and the egg.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thatís right.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Okay. Thank you very much.
MR. LUCHKIW: Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Next, we have Walter Smith, from the
Hartz Mountain organization.
W A L T E R M. S M I T H JR.: Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Good morning.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, I
sincerely appreciate the opportunity to appear before you this morning. On
behalf of Hartz Mountain, its interest in the Meadowlands is the largest, single
commercial property owner of the Meadowlands, itís tenants, and, we also
believe, the other employers and employees in the Meadowlands region.
Iíve provided the Committee a copy of my statement. In the
interest of time, I wonít read all of it--
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
MR. SMITH: --if thatís okay with you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
MR. SMITH: But Iíd like to highlight a few things. Assemblyman,
as you know, Hartz has long been a supporter of mass transit in this region.
Hartz has subsidized mass transit through New Jersey Transit to its
developments in Secaucus. Itís also provided subsidized bus service to its
waterfront properties in Weehawken, and itís also been a leader in getting the
light rail project through its area on the Hudson River. And needless to say,
weíve been working with Assemblywoman Heck for years and years.
One of the members of the staff at Hartz Mountain, Dan Vitrolio
(phonetic spelling), has long been a member of the Light Rail Advisory
Committee. And we are committed to continuing that effort in the future.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I just want to take a moment, Mr.
Chairman, to thank Walter M. Smith for the advice he gave me early on, as we
were putting the panel together. You saved me years of aggravation, and you
helped get the light rail moving much faster.
MR. SMITH: Thank you.
There are several developments youíve heard about today. Bob
Ceberio talked about the revised Meadowlands master plan. Youíve heard
about two major developments here today. The Encap development, which is
going to be a golf course -- 2,000 housing units, three-quarters of a million
square feet of office space, up to 750 hotel rooms, and 100,000 square feet of
retail space. Youíve heard about the Xanadu development thatís four and threequarters
million square feet of commercial space, 2.2 million square feet of mall
and entertainment uses, a million and three-quarter square feet of office space,
500 hotel rooms. In addition, it now appears the Continental Arena -- thank
heaven -- is going to stay in operation with the Nets and the Devils and
concerts, circuses, ice shows, and etc.
All of us who live in this area -- and I live only a few miles away --
are well familiar with the traffic nightmares for most of the events currently
conducted at the arena. In the last year, there were almost 250 separate events
at the Continental Arena site. Fifty-two of these were held during November
and December, which are the peak shopping seasons, and one would think with
a shopping mall and entertainment facility, one of the very busiest seasons here
in the Meadowlands-- If you recall last year at the Christmas holiday season,
Routes 4 and 17 and the roads around Garden State Plaza had to be shut down
because of the traffic, and thatís without a Continental Arena supplying people
to the site.
Recently -- actually a month ago tomorrow, the 15th of March --
there was a hockey game between the Devils and the Rangers at Continental
Arena on Saturday afternoon at 3:00. Iíve provided the Committee with copies
of photographs that I had taken after that event, to show you what can happen
to the traffic in this region in an event where only 19,000 people attended. The
promotional data for the Xanadu development, alone, says theyíll have between
18 and 20 million visitors a year. Thatís something in the order of 50,000
visitors per day. Thatís five times that hockey game.
Without assured mass transit, total chaos canít be avoided. In the
past few years, weíve had the opportunity to witness what light rail has done on
the waterfront. The Meadowlands cannot afford to put millions of square feet
of commercial development in place before rail service is provided. All of us in
the Meadowlands region depend on you and depend on it. We believe the
hearing today is a good first step to identifying the needs and issues relating to
large-scale development and a regional mass transit system. Itís essential that
the timing of these large-scale developments be directly tied to the provision of
rail service. To allow these developments to proceed prior to the availability of
rail service will have a devastating impact, not only on the Meadowlands
roadway system, but on all of its residents, businesses, and employees that use
it on a daily basis.
Thank you very much.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
Would you leave a copy of your testimony with the--
MR. SMITH: You have it. I left you one.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: We already have it. Okay, good, good.
I just want to make sure she has it.
MR. SMITH: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Very good.
Next, we have William Wright, from the New Jersey Association of
W I L L I A M R. W R I G H T: Good afternoon.
There were certain other factors involved -- funding of the mass
transit. Funding is very important, because right now the funds for auto use,
which is a means of transportation according to past Transit Commissioner
Weinstein and others, denies one in four mobility, due to age, health, economic
status, or fear of road rage. So that any development that goes in without any
form of rail mass transit, because the bus gets stuck in the traffic the same as the
autos do, would be doomed to fail.
The gas tax is an ideal situation to go for mass transit, because the
general feeling is, or the general statistical proof is that the gas tax only covers --
and this is U.S. DOTís own figures -- roughly two-thirds of the Federal and state
highways. No money from gasoline tax goes to county roads and bridges,
municipal streets, police traffic control, fire and rescue costs. So right there,
weíre looking for funds. New Jersey has the third-lowest gasoline tax.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thatís not correct. Money does go
through the Transportation Trust Fund, which is funded through the gas tax, to
local roads, to a number of the projects that you just mentioned. So the
information you have there is incorrect. Because in New Jersey, the gas tax is
dedicated to the funding of the Transportation Trust Fund, which does a lot of
what youíre talking about. So that Federal information is not correct.
MR. WRIGHT: Except most of the local -- the county and
municipal roads are still paid, primarily, through the real estate tax. Thatís a
major section of them. Itís a major section.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Itís a major section, but there is
funding. Thereís local aid, and most municipalities in the State receive money
on a yearly basis through the Transportation Trust Fund, which provides money
for paving. So paving is provided locally through the Transportation Trust
Fund, which is funded through the gas tax. So, now, again, itís a mixed bag
MR. WRIGHT: Itís a mixed bag.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Itís not-- But you said it wasnít, and
I just wanted to clarify that.
MR. WRIGHT: Okay. But the point being that, the transportation
of 100 percent of the people is not covered. Itís only covered, roughly, 75
percent of the people who drive to places like -- any point not auto-served.
Now, continuing on that, Iíve looked at Assemblywoman Heckís
plan to extend the Bergen-Pascack Line out into the area. Itís a great plan. Itís
a great first step. Itís what should be done. The next step should be to continue
on to the Pascack Valley Line and extend it up into New York state, where the
Pascack goes. Excellent first steps. Whatís needed in the Meadowlands area is
a light rail distributor loop, which can easily be accommodated by extending the
Hudson-Bergen Light Rail through the arches, through the Secaucus Transfer,
out into the southeastern corner of the (indiscernible) also, extending westward
through the industrial park in Lyndhurst, passed the projected golf and
residential development, over the bridge into Newark, either of the two bridges,
to extend that.
All of these have merit. All of these need to be built relatively
quickly to ensure that the operation goes in as the development goes in, and
there isnít pressure to widen roads and use up main street. So I would like to
support, very much, Assemblywoman Heckís plan to extend the Bergen-Pascack
end and continue on north, and to make sure that we devise a fair means of
supporting rail transit as we do the road transit.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much.
Next, Jim Kirkos, Chairman (sic) of the Meadowlands Regional
Chamber of Commerce.
J A M E S K I R K O S: Good morning. I am Jim Kirkos, President of the
Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce, an organization that has been
pleased to work with many of you here today. Our interest in transportationand
transit-related issues has been well-documented over the years.
When Rich Fritsky stepped down as president of the Chamber last
year, one of the more difficult aspects of our transition was finding space for all
the transportation and transit studies and documents that he had accumulated
over the years. Fortunately, he continues to work with us on these issues, and
we maintain the institutional memory of that work.
As for today, I will be very brief and straightforward. Chairman
Doria, Assemblyman Sarlo, members of the Light Rail Committee, you should,
of course, be thanked for taking the lead on calling the public attention to this
issue. The County of Bergen, the Sports and Exposition Authority, the New
Jersey Meadowlands Commission, New Jersey Transit, and DOT should also be
congratulated for working together to do the planning to find the answers and
to make something real happen. In the past, this was not always the case. In
recent years, as you all well know, many plans as to how best to bring rail into
the sports complex have been forwarded and many ideas about connectors and
stations throughout the region have been put on the table. And while all of
them have some merit, not all of them work.
We, too, have submitted many recommendations over the years,
and weíll be prepared to do so again, believing as we do that light rail can be
brought down from Bergen and the north, along the Pascack Valley Line, and
that commuter rail can be brought up from the Secaucus Connection and the
south, along the Bergen Line, utilizing a joining connection.
Our focus today, however, is not on the detail, but on the
overarching philosophy and the fundamental factors that must be considered
and addressed. At the Chamber, representing the business community of this
region, this is what we consider to be essential: That we must bring rail into the
sports complex. That it must be brought in, in such a way that connectivity for
the entire region is maximized. That it must be about both the sports complex
and its neighbors, and our ability to give life to the economic goals and
objectives of a new master plan. That it must be about both the patrons of the
sports complex and the hundreds of thousands of people who work and live in
the region who hunger for mobility. That it must be planned so to allow the
greatest possibility and flexibility. That it must be creatively linked to New
Jerseyís statewide transit network and to our existing and operating
infrastructure. That it must be open to the new technologies and the real
promise of the Bergen-Passaic rail plan, while remaining flexible enough to
utilize regular commuter rail. Options must be left open. That we must get out
of our collective boxes to capitalize the system that fulfills the above by tapping
creative funding mechanisms that will give new meaning to the old termpublicprivate
You can be assured that we will be a partner and a strong advocate
going forward. We take comfort in the fact that the issue is being addressed,
that there is a spirit of cooperation among the agencies, the departments, and
the counties, and that there is a commitment to delivering and not just talking.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you very much.
Any comments or questions from the Committee? (no response)
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Thank you, Jim.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: If not, Art Vatsky, New Jersey BPU.
(no response) He left. Okay.
Next is Fred Brody, Brody, Inc.
F R E D B R O D Y: Mr. Chairman and members of the panel, I want to
thank you very much for this opportunity to discuss some new and innovative
technology for mass transit in the Meadowlands area.
My name is Fred Brody. I was in the transportation industry for
over 25 years, prior to starting my marketing/consulting business four years ago.
During that time as a business owner, I lobbied in support of transportation
issues, including the deregulation of the trucking industry, ISTEA-- In 1999, I
served as a commissioner on the Regional Intergovernmental Transportation
Study Commission, which recommended changes to the transportation
development districts to become transportation enhancement districts, which
was the first regional approach to congestion mitigation. Iím currently
Chairman of the Monmouth County Transportation Council; a board member
of the Regional Plan Associationís New Jersey Committee, chaired by Governor
Florio; and a trustee of New Jersey Business and Industryís PAC New Jobs,
which is one of the largest in the state.
After being involved with the transportation infrastructure issues for
almost 30 years, Iíve witnessed the problems New Jersey faces regarding
congestion and its cost to our economy. I firmly believe there is an answer to
congestion and circulation problems in certain high-density areas like the
redevelopment of the Meadowlands. It is a public transportation system that
falls under the category of PRT or personal rapid transit, which could
supplement light rail. Specifically, we are here today to represent a company,
who, over the last 20 years, has pioneered the development of a futuristic public
transportation system and has customized a design called Sky Web.
The people of our State have a rich history of scientific innovation
and being ahead of the curve. Some of the New Jersey scientific achievements
have been benefitting the world. So, in the spirit of Thomas Edison, we are here
today because we have a vision for New Jersey: To be the first state to install
the Sky Web system. Sky Web had its product launch this past Friday in
friendly Minnesota. We brought a copy of the press article covering that, which
appeared in the MinneapolisStar Tribune, and can provide the e-mail source.
According to Representative Mark Olson, a Minnesota legislator,
he said, "What you are looking at is the Microsoft of pubic transportation."
Railroad economist and Federal Railroad administrator Scheffer Lang said,
"PRT is the next major innovation in transportation since the automobile and
the airplane." These words deserve careful thought, especially for those of us in
New Jersey, the most congested state in the nation. We have an unprecedented
opportunity now at our doorstep.
Now to tell the story about this system in more detail, Iíd like to
introduce Bruce Haydu. Bruce is a native of the Jersey shore, a certified
financial planner in Red Bank for 22 years, and has a 15-year affiliation and
friendship with Ed Anderson, the founder of Taxi 2000 Corporation and the
inventor of Sky Web. Bruce has not lost his vision for seeing the first PRT
system in New Jersey, and Iíd like to introduce him, now, to tell you why.
B R U C E H A Y D U: Thanks, Fred.
Good afternoon. Thank you for this opportunity.
Iíd like to briefly touch on the following points. We all know the
problem thatís been alluded to many times today, but Iím going to talk about
the product to solve the problem -- the details of the Sky Web system, the
economy of Sky Web, and the compelling reasons to look at it from an
economic point of view, defining the market, the key people and management
team, product development, immediate objectives.
The problem is congestion, in a word, and the large budget deficits
that have to continue to fund conventional transit systems out of taxpayers
dollars. That cannot continue, as it stands, into the future without the taxpayer
The product is Sky Web. Itís a low-cost, high-capacity, flexible
system providing a level of service unheard of with current conventional transit,
and it is designed to operate at a profit. What is the Sky Web system? It
belongs in a category of transportation known as PRT, personal rapid transit.
These are fully automated transportation systems with small, on-demand
driverless vehicles running on an elevated network of guideways offering
individual trips without stops. PRT has no timetables and no fixed routes. The
vehicles wait at stations for passengers and depart when a passenger boards. So
you were talking about frequency -- this is on demand. There are no schedules.
He or she travels alone or with companions of choice, all in seated comfort.
The vehicleís computer determines the most rapid route and the
vehicle makes no stops until itís reached its destination, resulting in consistently
short travel time. These service characteristics are comparable to an automobile.
And after all, what weíre competing with is the automobile. The reason why we
have such low ridership on conventional transportation systems is because
nothing yet has matched the convenience of the automobile. Thatís why we
canít get people out of them. This does.
In congested urban areas, PRT is superior to all other modes of
transport, including automobiles. In suburbs or along freeway routes, the
carrying capacity of Sky Web is equal to three lanes of freeway traffic, taking
only seven feet of width space compared to 50 feet of freeway width space.
Another attractive feature of this system is the low environmental impact. All
that is needed is a hole in the ground every 90 feet for the post supporting a light
weight, three-foot by three-foot aluminum guideway on which passenger vehicles
run. These quiet and emission-free cars are propelled and slowed by electric
linear induction motors. The fuel efficiency of these motors is equivalent to
about 85 miles per gallon.
The economics of the Taxi 2000 Sky Web system is as follows.
They have employed a least-cost--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: May I interrupt you for a minute.
MR. HAYDU: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Because this is not like a monorail.
This is different.
MR. HAYDU: No, it is not. Correct.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Itís different than a monorail, okay.
MR. HAYDU: It is not a monorail.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: We have your handout, and it does
look very, very interesting. But I would, respectfully, suggest, since youíve
started somewhere else, that you, perhaps, make arrangements with our
Chairman to do a PowerPoint presentation, because this is unique--
MR. HAYDU: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: --and we would like to-- I, at least,
would like to know more about it.
How about you, Paul?
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Absolutely.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Right.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: It sounds like a very interesting
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: It sounds very interesting. And
probably with many more uses than just in the Meadowlands
MR. HAYDU: Absolutely.
MR. BRODY: Correct, thatís exactly right.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: So I would, respectfully, suggest
that we give you the amount of focus and time you might need to properly
present this. Reading the flyer or listening to you speak about something
completely alien is not going to do the trick today. Because again, I think you
need to meet with us and, perhaps, New Jersey Transit as well.
MR. BRODY: Yes. Weíve been invited, too.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes. So Iím going to take that
opportunity to invite you to meet with the panel. And Joe Wax (phonetic
spelling), I think, representing Chairman Doria, will set up a meeting date. So
donít leave. I donít want you to leave, but I donít want you to just keep telling
us about something that we cannot envision.
MR. HAYDU: If I could drive one point across--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes, go ahead.
MR. HAYDU: --before we leave the table. This system is not
designed to replace light or heavy rail.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: No, we know that.
MR. HAYDU: Thatís a paramount objective.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Itís something in conjunction with,
MR. HAYDU: Correct. It is designed to maximize the use of light
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes.
MR. HAYDU: A lot of talk has been about utilizing the transfer--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I have looked at this, and an
immediate thought came to my mind, because there is a problem in Weehawken
in getting the people to the ferry. This might be a wonderful way to take care
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: It eliminates a lot of the transfers that
weíve been talking about.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes. Yes.
MR. HAYDU: Yes. There are no transfers required once you get
on the car.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: But, I mean-- I think they have to
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: It gets from the hub to the destination.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Right, Paul. I think they have to
walk a thousand feet to the ferry.
MR. BRODY: Yes. Thatís all on demand.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: So I would say to you that this
looks very interesting. Please make those arrangements. But, yes, complete
what you want to complete.
MR. BRODY: Well, I just wanted to say that it is not in
competition with the light rail.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: No, we know that.
MR. BRODY: I know that there are a lot of light rail interest. But
my point is that weíre trying to solve a 21st century problem with 19th century
technology. And that cannot continue.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And thatís why Iím saying, you
might want to address New Jersey Transit because they have -- near the
Weehawken Tunnel-- Theyíre coming out, and theyíd have to go across four
lanes of traffic, right.
MR. BRODY: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: So, perhaps, thatís good. Good.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: Also, at the end of the
Camden/Trenton, from the Trenton to the State House.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Yes. And Camden/Trenton to the
MR. HAYDU: If I could--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: So there might be several ways of
MR. HAYDU: If I could just spend 30 seconds and give you my
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Go ahead.
MR. HAYDU: In conclusion, the groundwork has been laid. The
time, energy, and expertise utilizing tens of thousands of man hours has been
invested. To date, total R and D investment into Sky Web has exceeded $33
million, 10 million from the University of Minnesota, and over 23 million from
the Raytheon Corporation. Now a viable and revolutionary new public
transportation system is ready to be implemented. All it needs is someoneís
To beg two questions: One, who will have the foresight, innovative
spirit, and vision to install the first PRT system -- and I might add, hopefully,
in New Jersey. And two, who will lead New Jersey to yet another historical,
scientific endeavor that will benefit the world? As a proud New Jerseyan, I have
given careful thought to Shef Langís quote, and he is a gentleman who was a
Federal Railroad economist and engineer. He passed away about a month ago,
but he was behind the PRT concept. And his quote was, "PRT is the next major
innovation in transportation since the automobile and the airplane."
I can visualize the first PRT system being installed in New Jersey,
whether itís linking office building lobbies with metro park to a near light rail
station, or any other office park for that matter; whether itís efficiently moving
millions of people annually from all over the greater New York, New Jersey,
metropolitan area to and from the futuristic destination of Xanadu -- perhaps
by running a direct link from Penn Station, Newark, or any other transfer
station -- so that Xanaduís acreage can be occupied by attractions and people
instead of parked cars. Easing congestion along the Parkway or the Turnpike --
again, one of these lines can carry as many people during the same time as three
lanes of freeway traffic; or whether other applications that we can think of
together can serve as an example for the rest of the world.
Thank you for your time, and I hope you see my vision.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: And weíll make sure you see our
Committee Aide here before--
MR. BRODY: Yes. Weíll be submitting all these comments. I left
MR. HAYDU: Thank you again.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Just so, as we bring this to a close, is
there-- Who else would like to be--
Okay. Art Vatsky, right?
A R T V A T S K Y: Yes.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Al, and thatís it? Okay.
Oh, Iím sorry, sir. Chris Haines (sic) from the Washington Group.
Art. Art Vatsky representing the Board of Public Utilities.
MR. VATSKY: Yes. This is the mike? (referring to PA
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thatís the mike. (referring to PA
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Is that correct, the Board of Public
MR. VATSKY: Yes. Iím here representing the Board of Public
Utilities. I serve them as the North Jersey Clean City Coordinator, which is an
organization thatís funded and organized through the U.S. Department of
Energy and, in New Jersey, is acted through the New Jersey Board of Public
Utilities. Regarding the situation for the Meadowland service: Obviously, the
Meadowlands, with either of the systems discussed today, is a destination. And
in transportation, we talk about the origin and destination pair. The origin and
destination pair are going to be stations on the light rail line or stations on the
heavy rail line.
And the factor I wish to bring to light is the fact that the congestion
weíll be avoiding on the highways and near the destination, the Meadowlands,
might be replaced, in part, by the congestion weíll have at our train stations due
to parking, vehicles who park at the train stations. Now, there is, as
municipalities know, the concern about developing parking spaces for vehicles,
individual vehicles, at municipalities to handle the demand of the station. This
is a major factor in almost every meeting Iíve gone to in North Bergen in Bergen
County, and Iíve seen it being discussed in Long Island -- Long Island Railroad.
Obviously, one -- and the facts are, statistically, that people who want to avoid
taking other than mass transit -- take private transit, take a car -- are usually
within half a mile of the train station or less, half a mile.
Most of our municipalities are of moderate density. Certainly
Teaneck, the town where I reside, has 7,000 people per square mile -- moderate
density. Many potential riders will either have to take their cars, go that very
short ride, creating traffic congestion in our municipalities, or theyíd have to
take -- and what I know is being considered in Teaneck -- is a jitney service.
The jitney service is a small service in addition to the New Jersey Transit service
that I suspect will be provided to these train stations. The jitney is available --
I believe, the buses themselves are available through New Jersey Transit for
municipalities to operate.
How does the NJBPU become part of this? The NJBPU is the State
agency authorized to distribute Federal dollars to buy alternative fuel vehicles
and hybrid vehicles. I have the brochure here that talks about the rebate, okay,
that the BPU is currently authorized to provide, to some State agencies, to buy
these kinds of vehicles. The vehicles are the set of jitney buses, but they would
not be dependent on petroleum fuel to a great extent. In order to opt into this
money, they have to be using fuels like natural gas. The hybrid vehicles -- which
use about half the petroleum of regular gasoline or diesel fuel would be -- use
These are all, if weíre lucky-- The rail systems that we developed
will have at their origins these vehicles which are clean, which extend out to the
catchment base that the Chairman was speaking about, so that people donít
have to take their heavy-duty vehicles to ride a short distance through the main
parts of their towns and park them, creating the expense and the congestion that
weíre trying to avoid. Further, they reduce our need for petroleum just as the
light rail and heavy rail will do, as well.
By the way, biodiesel is also useable on the DMUs as an alternate
to petroleum diesel. Biodiesel is grown diesel fuel made from soy beans, canola
oil, or even fat-fryer waste oil. So we have a chance here of completing a loop
of reducing energy dependence, improving fuel efficiency, and reducing
congestion in a positive, 21st century way.
That concludes my comments. Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Thank you, Art.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you.
Youíre going to hand those out?
MR. VATSKY: Yes.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you.
MR. VATSKY: Okay.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: The representative of the Washington
Group. We donít have your name -- just for the record, sir.
C H R I S K A N E: Chris Kane.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Chris Kane from--
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Do you want to spell it for the
MR. KANE: K-A-N-E, C-H-R-I-S.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Go ahead, Mr. Kane.
MR. KANE: Assembly members, my name is Chris Kane. Iím Vice
President of Project Development for Washington Group. Weíre the designer,
builder, and the operator of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail project. The project
has been mentioned today, and I wanted to let you know weíd be glad to
present, in more detail, what a connection from the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail
system might look like to the Meadowlands development project. We have
Just for the Assembly members information, the current system is
carrying 16,000 passengers a day from Bayonne to Hoboken. When the next
segment is completed up to the North Bergen Park-n-Ride, the ridership will
increase to 50,000 passengers a day. This is still far less than the capacity that
was identified in the EIS. The system is capable of 100,000 passengers a day.
So there is a great deal of capacity that could be utilized to help resolve the
problems in this area.
I wonít go into all the benefits, but, obviously, moving workers to
jobs could be greatly enhanced by extending the Hudson-Bergen project up to
the Meadowlands, as well as reducing congestion. Thereís also a benefit that
could result from placing a park-n-ride facility at the Meadowlands, to allow
passengers -- who normally would take Route 3 East towards the Lincoln
Tunnel, adding to that congestion, and getting off to the waterfront at
Weehawken -- to park their cars there and to take the light rail all the way in,
and relieve congestion to the Lincoln Tunnel, which has been a big problem for
the Port Authority.
Again, we would be glad to present this in more detail to the panel.
It does warrant more in-depth study. There seem to be great opportunities for
a number of stakeholders in exploring this as a way to help solve the problem.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Yes. I think that it is something that
we should look at more seriously. I think the concept of the park-n-ride is very
important, and the availability of the space for people to leave their cars and to
take the light rail to an intermodal exchange spot, whether it be at the Hoboken
Terminal to PATH, or whether it would be the ferries at Hoboken or Jersey City.
I think thatís very important. As I pointed out earlier, and Assemblywoman
Heck agreed, the number of changes you have to make, the transfers, impacts
negatively upon peopleís desire to take any type of public transportation. If you
have too many transfers, people do not necessarily use the public transit. Also,
the cost factor has to be taken in. You have to have a combination ticket,
otherwise the cost is too excessive. Again, they will not use public transit.
So I think that we need to explore this further, and I thank you for
coming here today. We will be talking to your further.
MR. KANE: Okay. I do have a map of the system and how it
might be extended, if anyone is interested.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: If you could give us that, weíd
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: That would be great.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN SARLO: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Next we have Al Cafiero, who is the
Transportation Aide to Senator Gerry Cardinale.
A L B E R T F. C A F I E R O: Iím also the Chairman of the Transit
Committee of Bergen County, at least until the end of the month, when I
relinquish my job. I have a few comments, besides my prepared remarks, about
what people have said before.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Yes. Go ahead, Al.
MR. CAFIERO: Okay. First of all, I remember reading -- this is a
little bit before my time -- when the traction companies, the trolley cars, were
built by the developers at their own cost to get the people to their amusements
parks and their developments. What has happened to private enterprise?
I think $65 million for this place is peanuts. It should be -- at least
25 percent of the cost of the project should go to transportation. And thatís my
opinion. Furthermore, about what Congressman Rothman said: "Where are we
going to get the money?" I donít think anybody here remembers, much, the
Great Depression. During the Great Depression, there was a need to put people
to work. We got a lot of projects going -- post offices, dams, roads, electric
systems. We had the WPA and the PWA, and I remember that. Unfortunately,
Iím old enough to.
Also, I remember something somebody here had mentioned, one of
the previous speakers, that they had reams of testimony about the rail to the
sports complex. Part of that testimony is from the Transit Committee of Bergen
Now, let me go through my statement. What I am proposing, or
the Transit Committee is proposing, and this was in the -- since the early í80s,
we were talking about this before all this congestion. A light rail line by
extending the Newark City subway to the sports complex. Now, why light rail?
Light rail could go to the venues, could be circulated around the sports complex,
and brings the people a drop at a time, not the big surges. So you can have
more frequent service every 15 minutes, even five minutes, depending on the
time, what the project is. Light rail can carry almost as many people as heavy
rail, and much more conveniently.
Also, this line can be extended north along the shoulders of the
Turnpike to Lombardi, where you can have all the parking space, and further
north to Leonia to connect with the Northern Line, and eventually even as far
as Nyack, so you can have a Nyack-to-Newark connection. Now, who wants
to go from Nyack to Newark? Very few people. But people want to go along
to intermediate stops. It isnít from end to end for travel, itís very small. Itís in
between travel. And also, you can connect to -- if they build a new bridge,
Tappan Zee Bridge, to White Plains. So we have a diagonal connector, which
we sorely need in New Jersey. This line could connect with the Bergen Line, the
Pascack Line, the West Shore -- where that goes -- and the Boonton Line. It
could connect to everything going to Newark and to the airport.
In fact, Iíve left everything mainly in here, and I donít have to
repeat that. It goes into the record. I know itís getting late, and Iím getting
tired, and youíre getting tired, and weíre getting tired, so maybe we ought to go
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Any questions or comments for Al?
Thank you, Al, for your patience. We appreciate it, and weíll make
sure that your testimony is put into the record.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: I just wanted to thank Al.
Actually, I was invited to a meeting with Frank Catanya (phonetic
spelling) and Pat Roma at Palisades Park, and Al Cafiero and another
gentleman -- I canít remember his name -- came up to me, and they were the
first ones who got me interested in moving towards light rail.
Thank you, Al, for all your work.
ASSEMBLYMAN ROONEY: The same here, in 1977.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Thank you. Thank you, Al.
MR. CAFIERO: Thank you.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: At this point, any comments from the
members of the Committee, before we end?
Is there anyone further who wants to speak? (no response) I donít
Any comments from the members of the Committee?
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: It was a great meeting.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: I think it was a very good meeting. I
think it was a good first start. We need to take the input from this meeting,
review it, and then move further on possible future discussions that we need to
have. There is no question that we need public transportation, mass transit into
the Meadowlands area. It should have been done when the Meadowlands was
built in the 1970s. If we donít do it now, then shame on all of us.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Absolutely.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: Because itís necessary as the
development takes place.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: And long overdue.
ASSEMBLYMAN DORIA: And long overdue.
So thank you all, and we will be following up on this at another
meeting in the future.
ASSEMBLYWOMAN HECK: Thank you, Joseph.